The Premier League will not resume until 30 April at the earliest – but they, the FA and the English Football League have agreed to extend the season indefinitely.
FA rules stipulate that campaigns must end by 1 June at the latest, but the football and wider sporting worlds have been shaken and altered by the coronavirus pandemic.
A recent move by UEFA to postpone Euro 2020 for a year meant some breathing space for domestic club competitions trying to finish without resorting to voiding league seasons—and while we still have a way to go for definitive dates, the English football calendar should get back on track eventually.
Meetings on Thursday between the Premier League and clubs will look to ascertain potential ways forward, but a big step was taken with the FA’s announcement of an extension to the 2019/20 season in the professional ranks.
Maintaining the “integrity of each competition” remains paramount in their stance, with the extra time hopefully allowing leagues and cups to complete their requisite fixtures.
A statement read:
The FA’s Rules and Regulations state that “the season shall terminate not later than the 1 June”… 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.
The big news here, from a Liverpool perspective, is that the season WILL be completed and therefore the Reds will be crowned champions, whenever it is.
While a big positive which removes the immediate possibility of voiding or cancelling the season, it does mean that fans will now have to settle in for a further few weeks without on-pitch action.
The initial delay date was until 4 April, but with the public health situation still deteriorating at this point, more breathing space is required to aid a return to normality without encouraging further spread of the virus.
The new extension date means that, theoretically at least, Liverpool’s next fixture is away to Arsenal on the weekend of May 2/3.
In Italy, Serie A are expected to be open to resuming matches behind closed doors if necessary – per comments made by the nation’s sports minister this week – and the Premier League are likely to follow suit.
Either way, we now know there will be no football for at least the next six weeks in England.
We’ve waited 30 years for the title, what’s a few more weeks?