Professional football bodies have announced an extension to the suspension of English football.
The professional game in England will be suspended until April 30th at the earliest, with the measures confirmed by a joint statement released earlier today by the EFL, Premier League, Women’s Super League and the FA.
When the suspension of elite football in England was originally announced, the date given for the sport’s resumption was April 4th. However, many sources publicly and privately cast doubt on the ability of football to resume on this date in the face of the continuing coronavirus crisis.
A statement released today (19/03) after further meetings have said that the professional game will now commit to finding a way to finishing the disrupted 2019-20 season.
For its end, the FA has lifted a requirement for the domestic season to be completed by June 1st, and announced they will continually review for a time when matches can resume.
The move comes in the same week that UEFA confirmed this summer’s European football championships have been delayed, and will now not take place until 2021 in order to allow domestic football to complete its seasons.
The bodies said, “The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the PFA and LMA understand we are in unprecedented times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.
“We are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 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.
“We have collectively supported UEFA in postponing EURO 2020 to create space in the calendar to ensure domestic and European club league and cup matches have an increased opportunity to be played and, in doing so, maintain the integrity of each competition.
“The FA’s Rules and Regulations state that “the season shall terminate not later than the 1 June” and “each competition shall, within the limit laid down by The FA, determine the length of its own playing season”. However, The FA’s Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season in relation to Professional Football. Additionally, we have collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than 30 April.
“The progress of COVID-19 remains unclear and we can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority. We will continue to follow Government advice and work collaboratively to keep the situation under review and explore all options available to find ways of resuming the season when the conditions allow.
“We would all like to re-emphasise that our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.”
In the lower leagues, the only games scheduled to be played in the EFL after April 30th were the final games of the regular season. It has not yet been declared if these will be the games that will restart the competitions, but the situation is likely to remain fluid until such a time when professional sports can resume.
Earlier this week, the EFL announced it its taking measures to help clubs affected by the situation. The league has committed to completing the current campaign, and pledged a short-term package worth £50M to provide some relief to clubs, which consists of loans and advance payments of money due for completing the current season.