Premier League season to have a 39th match?

The Premier League season is heading towards what could be riveting final few weeks of football,with a lot still at stake including the title, race for European spots and also the relegation battle.

Swansea City and Hull City could be forced to play a 39th game.   -  Getty Images

The Premier League season is heading towards what could be riveting final few weeks of football,with a lot still at stake including the title, race for European spots and also the relegation battle.

In fact, the relegation battle between Swansea City and Hull City could force the Premier League to have a 39th game involving the two teams in case nothing else differentiates them.

Hull is currently 17th on the table, two points ahead of Swansea with three games remaining for both the teams. Swansea’s goal difference is -29 compared with Hull’s -31, and the Welsh club has scored four more goals.

Should the teams remain locked together at the end of the season, the two will play the 39th game at a neutral venue.

Premier League rules state: “If at the end of the season either the league champions or the clubs to be relegated or the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because two or more clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding league matches on neutral grounds, the format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the board.”

Premier League has faced such a situation twice before, but this would be a first for a relegation battle. In 1996, tickets were printed for a potential title decider at Wembley between Newcastle United and Manchester United, but Man United eventually won the title by four points.

More recently, in 2012-13, Arsenal and Chelsea could have finished joint-third and with a automatic Champions League spot on the line, there were talks of a 39th match but again the situation was avoided as Chelsea finished two points ahead of its London rival.

Swansea manager Paul Clement said he remained aware of such a situation but he hoped that it won't come down to that, "No. Although it’s two points, for me it’s much tighter than that because of what we’ve got [left to play], what they’ve got, all the different ramifications, especially when you involve Crystal Palace, and when you involve Tottenham and the Chelsea situation. I think it’s more even than the table shows, certainly from a mental point of view.”

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos