SPORT NEWS; PL United On Playing Season, No June 30 Finish Or Transfer Window Talks

Premier League clubs remain united in their desire to finish the season, but the controversial proposal of completing the campaign by June 30 was not raised in Friday’s meeting.

Clubs looked at various models for a resumption of action, all with dates attached.

The dates are purely hypothetical until such time as Government advice changes, with the country currently in lockdown until May 7 at the earliest to limit the spread of coronavirus.

It had been reported that numerous clubs were concerned that finishing after the end of June could cause problems, with standard player contracts expiring on June 30.

But it is understood this issue was not raised, and it is thought the biggest financial consideration for clubs remains getting the 2019-20 season completed, rather than any costs attached to legal disputes over contracts.

Discussions on a collective approach to tackling the issue of player contracts is believed to be a work in progress, with world governing body FIFA having proposed that contracts be extended until such time as the season in any given country actually does end.

There is a general acceptance among Premier League clubs that matches will have to be played behind closed doors if the competition is able to resume because of the restrictions around mass gatherings, but there is no guarantee at this stage that all matches will be available to view from home.

EFL chairman Rick Parry had written in an open letter to supporters of clubs in his competition that plans were being worked on to at least stream every match, so fans would not miss out.

A Premier League spokesperson said: ‘We are acutely aware of the distress COVID-19 is causing and our thoughts are with all those directly affected by the pandemic.

‘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 well-being of players, coaches, managers, club staff and supporters are our priority and the league will only restart when medical guidance allows.

‘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 response to the pandemic, the Premier League, our clubs and players have provided vital support for communities and the NHS and will continue to do so after matches recommence.’

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