Les Ferdinand has said that the current football season must finish, amid debate on what to do over the remainder of the season.
The former England international is currently Director of Football at QPR, in what is a difficult time for those in the game. There have been huge discussions across Europe over whether to complete or cancel the domestic seasons, but Ferdinand is adamant that, in England, they must be completed.
Speaking exclusively to BCOMS on Wednesday, Ferdinand said: “For the integrity of the league, it has to finish. Whenever that is going to be, it’s going to be, but I think just because of what it means, I think we have to finish the leagues.
“I think for the integrity of the leagues; not just the Championship, all the leagues. You look at the likes of Fulham, West Brom, Leeds and all these teams who are doing really well and have had good seasons. If you were to end the season now without it playing out, what we’re saying is there’s no promotion, no relegation- it can’t be.”
Ferdinand added: “If you’re top of the league and say, ‘right, first two teams in the Championship are going to be promoted’, it’s not going to be fair.”
There is much to be settled in the Championship, with nine rounds of fixtures and the play-offs yet to come. Leeds are currently one point clear of West Brom at the top of the table, while just three points separate sixth place Preston North End and Swansea City in 11th.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are the runaway leaders in the Premier League, 25 points clear needing just two more wins to clinch their first league title in 30 years. Ferdinand discussed the situation in the top flight, also touching on the relegation battle at the bottom of the table.
He said: “Okay, Liverpool are way in front of everybody else and I suppose if we went to people and said, ‘look, let’s give Liverpool the title because they’ve won it, they’re so far in front and it’ll be very difficult to catch them’, people might go, ‘okay’.
“But if you’re in that bottom three and there’s 27 points to play for and you’re one or two points away from being outside that bottom three, you’re not happy to be relegated.”
Ferdinand has been Director of Football at QPR since 2015, having spent eight years with the Rs as a player. The west London club are one of many sides to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and as a result have had to make sacrifices to aide their financial situation.
“We’ve furloughed a lot of our staff outside of the first team, [but] we haven’t furloughed the [under]-23s or the first team players,” Ferdinand said. “They have taken wage deferrals which was recommended by the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association), which is their governing body.”
He went on to say: “I think most of the clubs are in pretty much the same position. We need revenue coming through the door, and what a lot of people don’t understand is there’s no revenue coming through gate receipts – because no one’s coming into the stadium because there’s no football being played – no hospitality, no club shops.
“This is the first time in the history of football that I’ve seen recessions and credit crunches. Football has always thrived and carried on; it’s never been touched. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen football brought to its knees like every other industry in the world. It’s a tough time for everybody.”
I would like to extend my thanks to Les Ferdinand MBE for making the time to speak to myself and others, and to Ashanti George-Faure and BCOMS for the fantastic opportunity.