Sporting merit will be decisive in how places in next season's European competitions are awarded where a league has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, UEFA have announced.

UEFA still recommends its national members aim to complete the 2019/20 season if at all possible, with the Premier League and EFL retaining their stance of wanting to play this campaign to a conclusion.

However, European football's governing body has released guidelines on how to handle "special cases" where leagues cannot be completed, and European qualification decided.

How sporting merit will be defined is not yet clear, but may be a system based on points per game, one theory that has been proposed for Leagues One and Two, given the growing financial concerns clubs in the bottom two tiers of the EFL have should matches have to be played behind closed doors.

The National League took the decision this week, following a vote with its member clubs, to end the season now and will now hold a series of votes to decide how promotion and relegation are decided.

UEFA says its member national associations must follow "objective, transparent and non-discriminatory" principles to decide which clubs should compete in the 2020/21 Champions League and Europa League in the event they cannot finish their seasons.

It stressed that competitions terminating early must provide "legitimate" grounds to do so, which UEFA defines as an official order from government or other authority prohibiting sporting events, or an inability to play on due to insurmountable economic problems and where to do so would put at risk the long-term financial stability of the competition concerned.

UEFA will reserve the right to refuse or evaluate the admission of any club if the grounds for prematurely concluding the season are not deemed legitimate, or the process for selecting clubs is not deemed to be objective, transparent and non-discriminatory.

It will also look at a team's admission if there is "a public perception of unfairness" in their qualification.

A fixtures working group is looking at two scenarios - in the first the European club competitions would run in parallel with domestic action, as they do in normal circumstances, or in the second domestic matches would be completed before continental competition restarts in August.