The prospect of there being no PFA Player of the Year for the first time since 1973 has significantly increased after the voting process was suspended.
It had been the PFA’s plan to crown the campaign’s top performer – and the outstanding young player – at a gala dinner in Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on April 26; the ceremony had been held for the 25 previous years at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.
Jordan Henderson, Liverpool‘s captain, had been the long-time favourite for the prize, with his team-mate Sadio Mane and Manchester City‘s Kevin De Bruyne also in the running. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Henderson’s team-mate, had been the leading candidate for the Young Player gong.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk (right) won the PFA’s Player of the Year Award for 2019
Mohamed Salah (right) won it in 2018 and Liverpool were heading for a three-year clean sweep
Jordan Henderson is the overwhelming favourite but he may now miss out on the top award
Henderson’s claims to become the third consecutive Liverpool player to win the award, after Mohamed Salah (2018) and Virgil van Dijk (2019), have arguably been strengthened in recent weeks, as he was the driving force behind the #PlayersTogether initiative to raise money for NHS charities.
However, there is now a real possibility the awards – which have been running for 46 years – will not be presented due to the impact of the coronavirus.
The gala dinner has been cancelled and no date in the future has been suggested as an alternative.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was favourite for the Young Player award but ceremony is now off
Gareth Bale is a previous high-profile winner and the awards have been held for last 46 years
2019: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
2018: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
2017: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
2016: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)
2015: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
2014: Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
2013: Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
The PFA are not even in a position to unveil their six-man shortlist and proceed without an audience. Ballot papers sent out in the middle of March – before football was forced to shut down – to begin the voting process but not every club in the country has received their allocation.
As a result, the PFA have made a decision to put the awards to the back of their list of priorities. They are currently being consumed with helping those players in League One and League Two, who are facing financial difficulties and other challenges without any games.
Vivianne Miedema won the Women’s PFA Player of the Year award last year at Grosvenor House
Gordon Taylor’s (left) plush awards night in London has been cancelled due to coronavirus