Governing bodies prepared to make difficult decisions over coronavirus

Governing bodies prepared to make difficult decisions over coronavirus

Some “difficult decisions” will need to be taken in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Premier League, EFL and Professional Footballers’ Association have warned.

The organisations met on Friday to discuss the financial impact of the suspension of the season.

“The Premier League, EFL and PFA met today and discussed the growing seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said in a joint statement.

“It was stressed that the thoughts of all three organisations continue to be with everyone affected by the virus.

“The Premier League, EFL and PFA agreed that difficult decisions will have to be taken in order to mitigate the economic impact of the current suspension of professional football in England and agreed to work together to arrive at shared solutions.”

The pinch is already being felt, with Birmingham asking some players to defer half their pay, while players at Leeds have volunteered for a wage deferral.

The leagues will not recommence until April 30 at the earliest. They will only do so when it is safe and conditions allow

The governing bodies will hold further talks next week to formulate a joint plan.

Last week the projected restart of the season was put back until April 30, and that date has not changed.

“The leagues will not recommence until April 30 at the earliest. They will only do so when it is safe and conditions allow,” added the statement.

“Further meetings will take place next week with a view to formulating a joint plan to deal with the difficult circumstances facing the leagues, their clubs, players, staff and fans.”

Meanwhile, the Football Association released a statement standing firm behind its announcement that a host of league campaigns across the country were to be effectively voided given current circumstances.

Results for the 2019-20 season will be expunged for non-league divisions below the National League North and South, it was announced on Thursday. The same applies to women’s football below the Women’s Championship, with no promotion and relegation, while grassroots football has been brought to a close for the season.

The news prompted the chairman of South Shields, whose side were 12 points clear at the top of the Northern Premier Division and all but mathematically certain of clinching promotion to National League North, to threaten legal action.

But the governing body tweeted on Friday evening: “The decision taken to end the 2019/20 season across steps 3-7 of the National League system, the women’s football pyramid and the wider grassroots game was made by committee representatives for the respective leagues, and was supported by the FA Board and the FA Women’s Board.

“It will now go to the FA Council for ratification. We fully support the decision they came to during these challenging and unprecedented circumstances for English football.”

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