EPL: No Resumption Date Set As Clubs Commit To Completing Season

English Premier League clubs did not discuss a potential to restart the season but affirmed their commitment to finishing the 92 remaining fixtures of the current season at a meeting on Friday.

Representatives of the 20 teams were expected to debate a 30 June deadline to resume play at the meeting held via conference call but instead discussed “possible scheduling models”.

The league has been suspended since 13 March because of coronavirus.

The UK government announced on Thursday that the lockdown would remain in place for at least another three weeks.

A Premier League spokesperson said: “Today’s Shareholders’ Meeting provided an opportunity to discuss possible scheduling models. It remains our objective to complete the 2019-20 season but at this stage all dates are tentative while the impact of COVID-19 develops.

“In common with other businesses and industries, the Premier League and our clubs are working through complex planning scenarios.

“We are actively engaging with stakeholders, including broadcast partners, and our aim is to ensure we are in a position to resume playing when it is safe to do so and with the full support of the Government.

“The health and wellbeing of players, coaches, managers, club staff and supporters are our priority and the League will only restart when medical guidance allows.”

There was no discussion during the meeting of the possible complications that could be caused by the season running beyond 30 June – when some player and manager contracts run out.

If the season is extended beyond that date there is a possibility clubs will lose players before fixtures are concluded.

World football’s governing body FIFA has stated that contracts should be adjusted to reflect the actual end of the season. However, that issue could be open to challenge under English law.

The 30 June date is also an issue for clubs around agreed changes in kit manufacturers. Liverpool are due to change shirt manufacturers from New Balance to Nike, while Watford and Newcastle are also set to use new suppliers.

Should teams be allowed to train it is expected they would need two-to-three weeks to get prepared for the return to action, making the earliest possible return in June.

But with the ban on mass public gatherings likely to be one of the last restrictions to be removed, rescheduled games could well be held behind closed doors.

Uefa has pleaded for leagues to give them time to return with their own proposals for ending the season across Europe.

European football’s governing body will meet next week to further discuss plans which include potentially using the Champions League final to end the 2019-20 season on 29 August.