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Aston Villa sporting director in hot water following Premier League relegation comments

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Villa have distanced themselves from comments made by Jesus Garcia Pitarch after the club’s sporting director claimed there will be no relegation if the Premier League season is not completed.

Dean Smith and Jesus Garcia Pitarch

In an interview on Spanish radio, Pitarch claimed there was a “consensus” no team would drop out of the top flight if the campaign cannot be finished due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But that delivered a swift response from Villa, who are keen to insist their primary focus remains on the health and well-being of staff and supporters.

A club spokesman said: “The views attributed to Mr Garcia Pitarch in the Spanish media are not those of Aston Villa. Now is not the time to be speculating about the future arrangements for Premier League football this season.”

Villa are currently sat 19th in the table with the Premier League, who have suspended all fixtures until the first weekend in April, due to meet on Thursday to discuss their next move.

With the EFL also set to meet on Wednesday, Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear claims there is a consensus the sport must do all it can to get the current season completed.

Leeds and Albion have sat in the Championship’s top two for the majority of the campaign and have the most to lose if the season was declared null and void. “I think what we’ve heard from the broader football family over the last couple of days is a groundswell of opinion the right thing to do is to complete the leagues,” Kinnear said. “At the moment it’s not a time to be talking about football, it’s a time for cool heads and patience and I don’t think anyone needs to jump to any immediate solutions.”

He continued: “I think the broad principle that you maintain the integrity of the competitions and when the time comes and it’s safe to do so you finish the leagues. I think everyone is starting to feel that’s the right thing to do. It’s certainly our opinion.

“We think it maintains the integrity of the football pyramid, the integrity of the competitions, it allows solutions to some of the financial issues that clubs are going to be looking to face.

“I think although it’s difficult to put a timescale on it, finishing the leagues across Europe is the right thing to do. We’ve heard that from Serie A and La Liga who believe that if the Euros are suspended, it could potentially provide a window for leagues across Europe to be completed.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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