The Premier League are prepared to go behind closed doors and deep into the summer to get the season finished unless they are prevented from doing so by the Government on health grounds.
At a conference call on Thursday morning it was decided that the season would be “extended indefinitely”, as was intimated by the Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham earlier this week, although the hope remains of a June 30 finish which is the date all European leagues are still working towards and has been suggested by Uefa so there is some uniformity.
Pre-season would then take place in August, with the new campaign pushed back until after the international break at the beginning of September to try and minimise disruption.
The Premier League clubs have also agreed to stop using the phrase “null and void” if, in the worst-case scenario, the season cannot be completed and instead talk about a “curtailment” of the campaign. That would undoubtedly mean that, come what may, Liverpool will be crowned the champions for the first time in 30 years.
However, the strong expectation is that this season will be played to a finish, with the Premier League having already modelled various different scenarios on how the games can be fitted into the schedule dependent on which date they resume.
It was agreed during the conference call involving all 20 clubs that football in England will be postponed until April 30 at the earliest. The FA, which is the sport’s governing body, confirmed the extension following talks with the Premier League, the English Football League and women’s professional game.
To do so it needed the FA to amend its own rules and regulations which had stated “the season shall terminate not later than June 1”. Officials have now agreed that date will not be enforced with the use of the phrase “extended indefinitely” showing the willingness to complete the season without a specific deadline.
三级成人视频In saying that the resumption of football, following the coronavirus pandemic, is dependent on it being safe to play games even behind closed doors - which is the most likely outcome at least for the first few games when the sport resumes and, possibly, for the rest of the season, although clubs do not want to play at neutral venues. The international players’ union, Fifpro, has, in particular expressed its concerns on the welfare of the players.
That concern is shared by the clubs, who stressed they needed to receive assurances around the health of the players and staff, but there was a consensus that there should be a determination to try and finish the season and how far into 2020 that could feasibly go.
The other concern is whether the players can physically play so many games in a short period of time if, as is possible, the leagues try and cram in all the matches into the end of May and June. Most Premier League clubs have nine matches to play, others 10, with EFL clubs having similar number of games. It is still a quarter of the season. There is also the FA Cup and European competitions but domestic leagues will take priority, according to Uefa.
Although football has been suspended until April 30 there is little anticipation that it will resume then, with the clubs expected to talk again after April 3 – the date that was originally set by the Premier League last week when football was suspended – for an update on the situation.
If there is evidence that the pandemic is flattening it is possible that games could be played in May. The hope is for June 30 to remain as the date for the season to end because of the complications over players contracts which are set to end on that day. Fifa has already said it will push back the summer transfer window.
An extension on the contracts by, for example, a month is not insurmountable but would be problematic although the clear message on Thursday was to get the season finished. With that in mind there was also an informal agreement between the clubs not to talk about the possibility of the season being declared “void” which West Ham vice-chair Karren Brady publicly suggested last weekend was one solution if games could not be played. But no club raised the possibility of ending the season now during the two and a half hour discussion via Skype which was led by Premier League interim chair Claudia Arney from the organisation’s London headquarters.
三级成人视频Instead, the word the clubs will use from now on is “curtailment” which, presumably, is also to try and protect themselves against the broadcasters, both domestic and overseas, who may demand refunds running into hundreds of millions of pounds and could seek legal redress.
In a joint statement after the meeting it was announced that: “The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the PFA and LMA [League Managers Association], understand we are in unprecedented times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by Covid-19.
三级成人视频“We are 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.”
三级成人视频Meanwhile, Manchester United have announced they will pay their 3,000 plus casual staff even if their remaining home games are cancelled or played behind closed doors. It will cost the club around £1million.