In the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak, the Premier League and English Football League (EFL) top bosses held crisis meetings on Thursday and announced that the suspension of all forms of the professional game has been extended till April 30. The announcement was made after officials of the FA, the English Premier League, the English Football League and the women’s professional game held a meeting. Also Read - Football: UEFA Denies August 3 Deadline For Champions League Conclusion
Earlier this week, UEFA’s decision to postpone Euro 2020 for 12 months provides a window to all major football leagues around the world to complete their season. However, the decision will largely depend on how COVID-19 restrictions will ease out. As of now, there are strict restrictions on travelling and mass gatherings to halt the spread of the deadly virus. Also Read - Shahid Afridi, Jahangir Khan Come Forward to Help Minorities in Fighting Coronavirus Pandemic
The leagues still hope to finish the season once play can be restarted rather than accepting the current standings as final or declaring the campaign null and void. Also Read - Pakistan: Coronavirus Cases Cross 3,000-Mark, Govt Taking Measures to Curtail Its Spread
“We’ve collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday 30 April,” said a joint statement by the English Football Association, Premier League, EFL, players and managers’ bodies.
If play can commence in early May, that could mean matches stretching beyond the June 30 goal UEFA agreed on for finishing the season on Tuesday. The end of June is when many players’ contracts and loan deals expire.
“We’re united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019-20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so,” added the statement.
However, the English authorities are putting no limit of when the 2019-20 season must be finished by.
“The FA’s Rules and Regulations state that “the season shall terminate not later than 1 June” and “each competition shall, within the limit laid down by the FA, determine the length of its own playing season”,” the FA said in its statement.
“However, our Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019-20 season in relation to professional football. Additionally, we’ve collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday 30 April.”
Earlier, the EFL said that it will release a 50 million pound short term relief fund to help clubs in the divisions below the Premier League with cash flow issues.