Football League clubs are ready to demand lucrative compensation offers from the Premier League and EFL in an attempt to ward off ugly legal battles if the season is cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak.
But clubs considering law suits in case their promotion hopes are dashed by null and voiding the season have been warned their chances of winning are as little a ’50-50′.
The overriding intention for the Premier League and EFL remains to complete the season, ideally before June 30 in hope of avoiding a host of contractual and legal complications if the campaign runs into July.
But the prospect of not finishing the season at all will have wide-ranging financial implications for a host of EFL clubs, particularly those who are currently in with a chance of promotion.
For instance, West Brom and Leeds, currently first and second, respectively, in the Championship, face losing out on a minimum of £100million if the season is erased.
Similarly, clubs as far down as Cardiff in ninth may feel they have grounds to legal action for ‘loss of opportunity’ if their chances of a lucrative promotion, either automatically or through the play-offs, into the Premier League are ended prematurely.
There will be similar cases in League One, where Coventry and Rotherham hold the two automatic promotion places, and League Two, where Crewe, Swindon and Plymouth are in pole position.
Sportsmail understands that those clubs who stand to lose out on promotion – and the increased revenue that comes with it – are determined to be compensated if the campaign isn’t completed.
One source at a Championship club in the running for promotion said: ‘Why should we miss out on the opportunity of promotion and the money that comes with it when the clubs at the bottom of Premier League get away Scott free if the season is null and voided?’
The huge legal costs will be a factor when clubs denied promotion decide whether to go to court. With clubs being stretched financially due to the current coronavirus crisis, clubs simply may not be able to afford taking English football’s authorities to court.
But the likes of West Brom, Leeds and Fulham would have to give serious consideration to taking legal action if the season is voided given the riches involved in securing promotion into the top flight.
However, clubs have been warned that entering into a court case carries significant risk.
Udo Onwere, partner and head of sport at Bray and Krais Solicitors, who has vast experience of working in football law, said: ‘I would say it’s 50/50 that a club could successfully argue they should be promoted or due compensation if the season is null and voided.
‘How do you argue in court that you would win enough games or pick up enough points to secure promotion? You can’t.’