Uefa opens door for Celtic to be declared champions

Rangers and Celtic are scheduled to meet each other twice more this season.Rangers and Celtic are scheduled to meet each other twice more this season.
Rangers and Celtic are scheduled to meet each other twice more this season.
Domestic league and cup competitions can be cancelled “in special cases”

Uefa has opened the door to domestic league and cup competitions being cancelled "in special cases" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It paves the way in Scotland for Celtic to be declared champions and for Hearts to be relegated, pending potential reconstruction of the leagues in time for next season.

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The national member associations of European football's governing body gathered for a conference call on Tuesday for an update on "a variety of calendar options" to complete the 2019-20 season.

Uefa had previously warned that domestic leagues cancelling their seasons prematurely risked their clubs being excluded from its competitions in the future, but may now consider allowing curtailment of campaigns.

"There was a strong recommendation given to finish domestic top division and cup competitions, but some special cases will be heard once guidelines concerning participation to European competitions - in case of a cancelled league - have been developed," a statement from Uefa read.

Uefa said any decisions on those guidelines would be announced after Thursday's meeting of its executive committee.

The Scottish Professional Football League board has the right to make a decision on bringing the Premiership season to an end but is expected to consult with clubs before going ahead.

However, this announcement from Uefa would appear to open the door to the Scottish 2019-20 top-flight campaign being brought to an early end.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed concerns on Monday about the possibility of even staging behind-closed-doors matches because of social distancing rules.

The Ladbrokes Championship, Ladbrokes League 1 and Ladbrokes League 2 have already been ended after clubs voted in favour of an SPFL resolution to bring them to an early conclusion.

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There are eight rounds of fixtures remaining in the Premiership, where Celtic hold a 13-point lead over second-placed Rangers. The Ibrox side have a game in hand and are still due to play Celtic twice.

At the bottom, Hearts are four points adrift of Hamilton Accies with 24 points left to play for.

The Belgian Pro League announced at the start of the month that it was cancelling its season, with Club Brugge declared champions. The decision is yet to be ratified.

In England, Premier League clubs are still exploring scheduling models for how they could complete the season.

Failure to do so would prove very costly. It has been reported that Sky Sports would not seek a rebate in the event of a curtailed campaign, but that would still leave the clubs owing a collective £370 million.

The scenarios presented to the associations were all understood to culminate in the Champions League and Europa League taking place in August, with the final of the Champions League believed to be pencilled in for August 29.

The format of the remainder of those competitions - for instance whether ties remain at two legs or drop to one - is entirely dependent on how much time is available for the matches to be played.



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