The Premier League has delayed the season until at least April 30th due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis – and reiterated its desire to ensure the 2019-20 campaign is completed.
Top-flight clubs attempted to thrash out a plan to complete a season placed on ice by the global pandemic when they met via a conference call on Thursday morning.
And, after several hours of intense discussions, it has been agreed that all professional football in England will not resume until April 30 at the earliest.
A statement from the Premier League, EFL and the Football Association, along with the Women's professional game, the Professional Footballers' Association and the League Managers' Association confirmed the extension to the suspension.
The bodies also insisted they were united in their commitment to getting the 2019-20 campaign finished, and that the FA board had agreed to extend indefinitely the season end date, which is usually fixed at June 1.
Last week fixtures, were suspended until April 4 at the earliest and it seemed certain that the lay-off would be extended, although UEFA's decision to postpone the Euro 2020 finals for 12 months created room for manoeuvre.
The focus was firmly on concluding the 2019-20 campaign rather than on what might happen should they be unable to restart, while talks with broadcast partners, whose financial input represents such a large proportion of revenue, are ongoing.
The statement read: "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.
"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.
"We have collectively supported UEFA in postponing EURO 2020 to create space in the calendar to ensure domestic and European club league and cup matches have an increased opportunity to be played and, in doing so, maintain the integrity of each competition.
"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, The FA’s Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season in relation to Professional Football.
"Additionally, we have collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than 30 April.
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