Clubs concerned out-of-contract and loan players can walk away if season not finished by June 30
Friday 17 April 2020 16:48, UK
The Premier League will meet again on Friday with an increasing number of clubs wanting the season concluded by June 30 because of player contracts.
How to bring an end the 2019/20 season, suspended since the middle of March because of the coronavirus pandemic, will unsurprisingly be top of the agenda.
Clubs are still in favour of doing everything they can to finish the season, rather than declare it null and void, but the possibility of dozens of contracts ending before the campaign finishes has multiple clubs concerned.
The concern is that if the season does not end by June 30, out-of-contract and loan players will be able to walk away from their clubs, even though FIFA has recommended that deals due to expire could be extended to the end date of any domestic campaign.
One Premier League club owner said: "Some clubs want the season to finish by the end of June.
"How can it be fair for European places and relegation to be decided by depleted squads."
No decisions are expected to be ratified at Friday's meeting and, as has always been the case, the season will only restart when the government advises it is safe to do so - most likely with games being played behind-closed-doors - if it is even able to at some point over the summer.
One Premier League owner said: "The meeting will be about financial survival and if and when we play games or abandon the season. Sadly, the season could still be abandoned depending on government rules."
Brighton chairman Tony Bloom doesn't believe June 30 is the deadline for the Premier League season to be over but does believe there is a cut-off point.
He said: "We would like to finish the season. There does come a point when we can't keep waiting but I don't think June 30 is that point.
"There's talk about player contracts and sponsorship and it's difficult to play beyond that but this situation is so unique and unprecedented every option should be looked at."
Most Premier League teams have nine games left to play, including runaway leaders Liverpool who had a 25-point advantage when games were suspended last month.
Speaking on Thursday's The Football Show, Jamie Redknapp and Jamie Carragher gave their opinion on a potential June 30 end date, and whether players could carry on playing slightly beyond that date if they were out of contract...
Redknapp: "Obviously you want loyalty from a player, but then the player might ask: 'What if I'm not insured in that time, and I pick up an injury and my career ends?'
"So you're asking for an awful lot of goodwill at this time, which isn't easy as there will be pressure from the fans, family, agents. I can understand it from both sides."
Carragher: "I'd just play, whether I was under contract or not, it's a game of football and I want to play, and I'd want to see the season out. Every team is in the same boat. Whether you can extend contracts by an extra month legally, I don't know, but I think if you've got a few games of the season left, if you've got that far, you might as well just finish it.
"I agree that family, agents, and the different ages of players can cause a problem too, but as I said I think if there were a couple games left to play and I wanted to get my team to the league title, into the Champions League, or to stay up, if I was in that situation I'd play the extra couple of games for the club."