EPL Clubs To Discuss Ending Season By 30 June In Friday Meeting

Premier League clubs will meet on Friday to discuss the option of ending the 2019-20 season by 30 June.

The meeting is the latest attempt to pick a way through the Covid-19 crisis.

A resolution to ensure the 2019-20 campaign is completed by 30 June, whether or not the entire schedule of games has been completed, will be among the proposals to be discussed in Friday’s meeting.

It is understood the majority of Premier League clubs are in favour of the proposals as they seek out ways to avoid potentially difficult contractual situations.

Numerous club staff and players’ present deals expire on 30 June, notably Chelsea midfielder Willian and Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen.

In addition, Liverpool are due to change shirt manufacturers from New Balance to Nike, while Watford and Newcastle are also changing kit suppliers.

World governing body FIFA acknowledged the problem and drew up guidelines last week stating contracts can be extended until such time as the season ends, with the season currently suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the guidelines are not legally binding on the players raising the possibility of clubs losing key parts of their squad before the campaign has been concluded.

It has led to an increasing body of opinion that, no matter what the state of the Premier League at that point, 30 June should be the final day.

Premier League executives believe the move would provide greater clarity to the 2020-21 season which they say is more important than the current one.

The proposal would have to be voted for by 14 of the 20 clubs to be adopted.

Should it go through, the chances of completing a 38-game schedule would appear distinctly remote.

Most teams have nine games left to play while four – Manchester City, Sheffield United, Arsenal and Aston Villa – must play 10. 

Curtailing the campaign along the proposed lines would not equate to voiding it if some fixtures remain unplayed, although it is unclear what efforts would be required to land upon a final league table that broadly satisfied everyone. 

One idea being pushed forward again is to promote Leeds and West Brom who currently top the Championship, not relegate any clubs from the top flight and go with a 22-team competition, which would increase the number of TV games and potentially avoid the need to repay this season’s broadcast money.

That in itself would also create a problem for the Football League as it would lead to an imbalance in their numbers.

These are all issues that will be debated by Premier League executives on Friday, although a definitive decision seems unlikely given UEFA has pleaded for leagues to give them time to return with their own proposals for ending the season across Europe, something they expect to do by mid-May at the latest.