Leeds United are sitting top of the Championship table.

Paul Merson has made it clear that Leeds United and West Brom cannot earn promotion by having 22 teams in the Premier League next season amid the global health pandemic, as he told Sky Sports. 

The former Premier League winner pointed out that the likes of Fulham and Brentford, to name a few, have ‘taken gambles’ and, therefore, it wouldn’t be fair just to allow a team like Leeds to earn promotion. 

Marcelo Bielsa’s side are sitting top of the league, and many would agree, that for large parts of the season both the Whites and second-placed, West Brom, have been the two best sides in the second-tier of English football. 

Whatever decision is or isn’t made over these coming weeks and months if the season isn’t finished then it will cause a stir, but Merson is adamant what cannot happen. 

“Liverpool had won it, we know that but it’s hard to say to Leeds and West Brom that they’re up,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“Fulham have taken gambles on players – they’ve kept Aleksandar Mitrovic and Tom Cairney, they brought Anthony Knockaert in, they took these chances to try and get promoted. Brentford next season – if they don’t go up, they will lose their front three. I could run through every club and their problems. Most clubs have taken a gamble and financially this is going to really impact them.

On 22 teams: “I don’t think you can have 22 teams, promote West Brom and Leeds and then relegate five next year. And if they declare the season null and void, what are they going to do – give everyone their season ticket back because the season essentially never happened?”

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The simple thing to do is to finish the season at whatever cost. The major problems will lie if those in power, both in the Premier League and the EFL, opt against any other idea. 

First and foremost, it has to be safe for sport to resume and when it does the season has to be completed because if it doesn’t then there could be many legal challenges. 

Even though Leeds had a difficult period on the pitch in December and January, they have been outstanding during these past few weeks and it was looking even more likely that they were edging closer to ending their 16-year stay in England’s lower leagues. 

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