Serie A clubs reject playoffs following coronavirus outbreak: Now what?

With soccer halted across Europe because of the coronavirus, Serie A clubs rejected a plan that would have used playoffs to determine a champion and relegation.

As the coronavirus outbreak spreads across Europe, Serie A clubs on Friday rejected a plan that had called for a playoff system to end the current season.

The playoff system proposed earlier this week would have allowed the top four teams (Juventus, Lazio, Inter Milan and Atalanta) to play once the outbreak subsided so that a champion could be determined. The same plan would have determined which three teams would be relegated to the second division.

There are few options left for league officials going forward. The notion of cramming 12 matchdays over a short span is nearly impossible, unless the season is extended into the summer.

Since there is no way to know when the outbreak will end, the season should be cancelled. That leaves only two options on the table: declare the season incomplete with no winner or give the title to Juventus, who are currently in first place.

Juventus are currently atop the table with 63 points, followed by Lazio at 62 and Inter Milan at 54 with a game in hand.

The season should be cancelled and no winner declared so that the 20-team league could hopefully get off to a fresh start come September.

Giving the title to Juve or any team would be unfair. It would also mean nothing. Italy is under a national lockdown after over 15,000 people got the infection. Hundreds of others have died as a result of COVID-19. This is not a time for sports, watching games or celebrating a title. It’s a time to mourn.

At the same time, several Serie A players have tested positive for the virus, including Juventus defender Daniele Rugani, plus four Sampdoria players and the team doctor.

The Champions League, like sports leagues around Europe and in the United States, have been suspended. The NCAA cancelled March Madness on Thursday, meaning there will be no men’s and women’s Division I champion this year. If March Madness can be cancelled, so can Serie A.

There really doesn’t need to be a winner crowned this season.

Next: MLS suspends season for 30 days due to coronavirus

For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.

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