After a couple weeks of uncertainty, the FA had finally delivered its decision on the suspended WSL results:
Chelsea has been awarded the title ahead of Manchester City, after the Football Association board voted to determine the tables based on points per game. On the other side, Liverpool has been relegated from the Women’s Super League, while Aston Villa has been promoted to it, after wining the Championship. However, …
Was it the right choice?
The FA has had struggles in the past weeks and haven’t shown a good cooperation with women’s football, yet, this decision has been the appropriate. After all, the FA used a PPG formula to predict the potential winners and losers of the respective competitions; despite 28.1% of WSL fixtures and 32.7% of Championship fixtures not having be played.
City were a point ahead of Chelsea when the season was suspended but had played a game more, with Chelsea yet to play every team in the league. Both clubs will participate in the Champions League next season and City said they “understand and accept the method used”.
And of course, Villa, who was six points clear of Sheffield United at the top of the Championship, have been crowned champions and promoted. Their head coach, Gemma Davies, said:
“For every player, staff member and supporter, promotion to the Super League is the realisation of a dream that we’ve all worked so hard to achieve.”
However, FA’s decision could still be seen as controversial due to Liverpool being relegated. The Reds, who were bottom on six points, one point behind Birmingham, who had a game in hand, and three points behind Bristol City, are believed to have been the only club to have said they were willing and able to play on.
“We believe we would have been able to meet all operational requirements but a return to play was deemed impractical,” the club said. “We hoped for the opportunity to secure our status on the pitch,” said the club.
Having a deeper look, of all the leagues required by UEFA to decide on a fair way to put forward teams for European competitions by “sporting merit”, the WSL was arguably in the most difficult position of all, following a thrilling, three-way title race, and, undoubtedly, not everyone will see Chelsea champions after been sitting in second spot. And the same could be applied to Liverpool’s situation.
For Chelsea, who were unbeaten throughout the league campaign, the title is their third in the WSL era, and their second in the space of three seasons. They also claimed victory in this year’s Continental League Cup final, beating Arsenal at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground.
None of the top three were beaten by any of the league’s other nine sides this term, but Chelsea enjoyed the best head-to-head record from the matches involving the trio, all six of which had been played before the season was curtailed. Nevertheless, the decision has been the correct way to handle things this time; especially after the FA preferred to not give the green light and testing to the WSL’s clubs to restart, something completely different to other leagues such as the NWSL or the Women’s Bundesliga.
The FA finally stated:
“The season ending early gives us the time to plan to come back bigger and better for the 2020/21 season, and we are determined to ensure we don’t lose the momentum generated before the country went into lock-down.”
In the end, a good decision taken from the FA this time, but that could have been less though, even controversial, to take if they took the right procedures when the pandemic started in the first place.