The Premier League are giving serious consideration to a plan which would see the current campaign resume on 1 June and still allow the 2020/21 season to start on time.
After postponing the season due to the coronavirus outbreak, the initial plan for English football was to return on 4 April, but that has since been pushed back to 30 April amid fears that the country will simply not be safe enough to resume.
The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the PFA and LMA are committed to finding ways of resuming the 2019/20 football season as soon as it is safe and possible to do so— Premier League (@premierleague) March 19, 2020
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League officials are determined to complete the current season, but The Telegraph note that there is an acceptance that playing any football before June is highly unlikely.
As a result, this proposal would see matches return on June 1 and be played behind closed doors over the next six weeks, which would see the season finish sometime around the 11 July mark and allow the 2020/21 campaign to start on 8 August.
The upside of this plan is that it would satisfy any pre-existing contracts with broadcasters like BT Sport and Sky - both in relation to this season and next - so there would be no financial hit for any top-flight sides.
However, with this proposal there is the issue of expiring player contracts to address. There are 68 players who will be out of contract on June 30, including the likes of Chelsea's Willian and Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen, so they would be under no legal obligation to finish the season if it runs past that date.
Clubs do have the option to activate an emergency 28-day extension in a player's contract, but both parties would have to agree to do so. If either the club or the player says no, then the deal is off.
Fortunately, clubs are not thought to see this as a major issue, and FIFA have promised to step in and intervene if any side finds themselves struggling to make up the numbers.
Manchester City and Manchester United have donated a combined £100,000 to help food banks in Greater Manchester meet increased demand from vulnerable people as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic https://t.co/J4R6ao5nNy— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 21, 2020
Southampton chief executive Martin Semmens told BBC Radio Solent: