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Season set for further delay

By Matt Maher | Football | Published:

Football fans face a longer wait before their teams return to action with the season shutdown set to be extended again.

Shrewsbury Town Fans at Anfield.

Both the Premier League and the EFL are currently suspended until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But with the country in lockdown there is an acceptance even a return by that date is virtually impossible and clubs in the EFL, including Shrewsbury Town, have been told to brace for a further delay.

Further talks between the EFL and the Premier League will take place next week.

A memo sent to clubs by the EFL board earlier this week read: “It would now appear that recommencing professional football on April 30 is not going to happen and, following further dialogue with the Premier League next week, we will provide further information.”

The season was first suspended on March 13, initially until early April, before being extended when the scale of the national health crisis became clear.

Government measures introduced to slow the spread of the virus mean players cannot return to group training until April 14 at the earliest.

For now clubs in the Premier League and EFL remain committed to completing the current campaign, even if it means running well into the summer.

But there is also the realisation they are very much at the mercy of global events and, though several solutions have been suggested for finishing the season, no firm plans can be made at this point.

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With all European leagues currently shut down, UEFA has already postponed Euro 2020 to free up space in the calendar, while the FA has removed the legislation requiring the season to finish by June 1.

FIFA are expected to take the lead in resolving the issue of players whose contracts currently expire on June 30, by when the season may not be finished.

The Premier League, PFA and the EFL met yesterday to discuss the financial impact of the suspension of the season and say some ‘difficult decisions’ will need to be taken in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. “It was stressed that the thoughts of all three organisations continue to be with everyone affected by the virus,” the statement read. “The Premier League, EFL and PFA agreed that difficult decisions will have to be taken in order to mitigate the economic impact of the current suspension of professional football in England and agreed to work together to arrive at shared solutions.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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