The Premier League could face another major upheaval on Friday as it has emerged that “at least half” of the 20 clubs are in favour of ending the season on July 1.
The top-flight clubs are set to meet at their latest shareholders’ meeting on Friday, as they continue to discuss their options in the coronavirus pandemic.
It has been, until now, unanimously agreed that the campaign should be concluded when safe, but a lack of certainty over when and how it can be resumed has ensured question marks remain.
The prospect of playing behind closed doors over a condensed period, starting in June, has been widely backed, ensuring a timely finish before 2020/21.
But now, according to the Times, clubs are looking to avoid “contract chaos” by voting to finish the current season before the start of July.
FIFA have proposed that players whose contracts expire at the end of June will see those extended until the end of the postponed term, with Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne among those affected.
It has been argued, however, that this would be almost impossible in the Premier League due to English law, as clubs cannot effectively force players to stay beyond the agreed period.
Therefore, one executive claims that a vote would likely see the requisite majority of 14 back an end date before this deadline to avoid a plethora of issues.
The Mirror add, however, that they would “find a formula to finish the season as they know voiding the campaign is off the table.”
Liverpool would still, therefore, win the title, but there is an unavoidable sense that this will be seen as a hollow victory if all 38 games cannot be played; those battling for Europe or to avoid relegation will be less concerned.
There is still the possibility that a compromise can be reached, but this highlights how delicate the situation at this stage with a number of factors to consider.
It is sensible to acknowledge that clubs such as Bournemouth—who could lose Ryan Fraser and possibly even Harry Wilson—and Chelsea—whose Willian, Pedro and Olivier Giroud are all in their final months—will be eager to end the season before July.
But how the Premier League moves forward will remain unclear until at least Friday afternoon.