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Citing “significant challenges,” FA strongly hints at canceling WSL season

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It appears the only thing left to do is figure out promotion, relegation, and Champions League qualification.

Arsenal v Birmingham City - FA Women’s Super League - Meadow Park Photo by Simon Cooper/PA Images via Getty Images

In a day filled with from football administrative entities, the Football Association today released one commenting on the immediate future of the 2019-20 Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship seasons, and strongly suggesting that both leagues’ seasons will be canceled.

The FA stopped short of outright announcing the termination of the 2019-20 season, but strongly hinted that it was the way forward, and implying that Champions League qualification details need to be hammered out before an official announcement.

Following an assessment of the protocols required to return to football and feedback from clubs, which is crucial to any decision-making process, it is clear that there will be significant challenges in completing the 2019-20 season.

We’re continuing to consult with the clubs on the possibility of terminating the 2019-20 season and, in the event it is decided that this appears to be the only realistic way forward, to seek views on the most appropriate sporting outcome for the season.

This includes identifying entries for the 2020-21 UEFA Women’s Champions League, which would be based on sporting merit from the 2019-20 Barclays FA Women’s Super League season.

— Statement, The FA

There’s a lot buried in that statement, but if there was a realistic path towards resuming the season, one thinks that the FA would’ve said so. That they cite “significant challenges” elsewhere in the statement makes it pretty clear that they’re going to a) end, rather than void the season, and b) hammer out the metrics by which league standings and Women’s Champions League qualification is determined (i.e. “sporting merit”).

A quick look at the table shows Manchester City top by one point over Chelsea, but having played one additional match. Just four points separates City from Arsenal in third, with Manchester United 13 points behind in fourth. Two of City, Chelsea, and Arsenal would qualify for Champions League, so it’s imperative that the details about how they would determine qualification be decided before terminating the season.

Promotion and relegation was not addressed in the FA’s release, so it remains unclear whether Liverpool would be sent down to the FAWC with Aston Villa replacing them, or whether the leagues would simply not promote or relegate anyone for next season.

If the season is terminated, Tottenham Hotspur Women would end the season in sixth place, with 20 points from 15 matches, making them one of, if not the, surprise team of the WSL season.