Premier League extends shutdown with end-date left open


Premier League extends shutdown with end-date left open
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Watford - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - February 23, 2020 General view of a match ball held by Manchester United's David de Gea during the warm up before the match Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

English soccer will be suspended until at least April 30 due to the coronavirus crisis, but the current season can be extended indefinitely, the English game’s governing bodies said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The Football Association, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game bodies, along with players and managers associations, agreed to extend the formal end-date for the 2019/2020 season in a bid to complete the campaign.

“We are 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 organisations said following a video conference meeting on Thursday.

Last week all elite soccer 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.

European soccer’s governing body UEFA agreed on Tuesday to postpone Euro 2020 for a year, clearing space in the calendar for domestic competitions to finish — if the public health situation allows.

FA rules say the season should end by June 1, but the decision was taken to extend that into the summer.

“The progress of COVID-19 remains unclear and we can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority,” the joint statement said.

“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.”

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