English football suspended until April 30, season extended indefinitely
The FA have announced that professional football in England will be suspended until April 30, and have extended the season indefinitely.
Professional football within England was initially suspended until April 4 last week but with the coronavirus showing little sign of abating, the FA have pushed that suspension back to the end of next month.
A joint statement from the Football Association, Premier League, EFL and women's professional game bodies reiterated a commitment to resume the current season but only when "it was safe to do so".
“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,” began the statement.
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“We're united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019-20 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."
The statement added that while the suspension of football was set to be extended to April 30, the season had been extended indefinitely, suggesting an intention is to complete the 2019-20 season in its entirety.
“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, our Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019-20 season in relation to professional football. Additionally, we've collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday 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.”
The move to extend the season comes in the wake of UEFA's decision to move its blue riband event, the Euros, from 2020 to 2021.
Last week all elite matches in England, including the Premier League, Football League (EFL) and Women’s Super League (WSL), were suspended until April 4.
With non-league, youth and amateur football having also subsequently suspended play, the English game is in a state of total shutdown.
With additional reporting from agencies