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The EFL’s solutions to major contract issues which complicate the completion of 2019/20 season

PUBLISHED: 11:00 02 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:40 02 May 2020

Cole Skuse and Andre Dozzell are both out of contract on June 30. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Cole Skuse and Andre Dozzell are both out of contract on June 30. Picture: ROSS HALLS

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The EFL have set out potential solutions to the issue of players’ expiring contracts as football bids to complete the 2019/20 season.

It remains to be seen when and if Ipswich Town will play again during the 2019/20 season. Picture PAGEPIX LTDIt remains to be seen when and if Ipswich Town will play again during the 2019/20 season. Picture PAGEPIX LTD

With hundreds of players’ deals due to expire on June 30 and the league season certain not to be finished before that date, the fact so many players are due to be out of contract would cause a significant issue.

In a letter to clubs, EFL chairman Rick Parry said the issue is being addressed: “As communicated this week, progress is also being made in respect of player contracts and registrations in place with clubs while, in addition, we await an update from the FA on its discussions with FIFA after submitting a request for an agreement to permit the transfer window to remain open from close of the 2019/20 season, for as long as possible as a ‘one-off’ solution.”

A number of potential solutions have been set out, according to reports, with three ultimate outcomes needing to happen before June 23. Either the player is offered a new contract, the original deal is temporarily extended or the player is released.

In the case of players being released, they would be eligible to join new clubs immediately but the EFL are suggesting they would not be able to play until the start of the 2020/21 campaign, whenever that may be. That scenario would avoid clubs strengthening their squads at the expense of rivals for the end of the current season.

MORE: ‘Players won’t risk careers’ – more than 1,000 EFL players set to be out of contract before season can be finished

If new deals or extensions can’t be agreed, week-to-week contracts could also be used.

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The EFL are also said to be proposing pushing back the date on which clubs are able to approach potential free agents. That date would usually be the third Saturday in May (also the date by which clubs must notify players whether extension options in contracts are taken), but it’s suggested the former could be pushed back to June 23.

Eight Ipswich players are out of contract this summer: Cole Skuse, Andre Dozzell, Gwion Edwards, Will Keane, Jordan Roberts, Danny Rowe, Brett McGavin and Armando Dobra. The club have the option to extend these by a further 12 months.

Cole Skuse is one of the Ipswich Town players out of contract on June 30 Photo: ROSS HALLSCole Skuse is one of the Ipswich Town players out of contract on June 30 Photo: ROSS HALLS

The loans of Luke Garbutt (Everton), Josh Earl (Preston) and Will Norris (Wolves) all expire at the end of the season.

We revealed last month that Dobra is close to agreeing a long-term extension, which is likely to be signed once players are allowed to return to training.

In his letter, Parry again insisted the priority remains to complete the current campaign behind-closed-doors, rather than cancel the season.

“Whilst there is still no further clarity on a return of EFL matches, the objective remains to play the remaining fixtures for the 2019/20 campaign at the current 71 EFL grounds,” Parry wrote.

“It is important that any clubs notify the EFL of any issues that may prevent this as soon as possible.”

“Some progress has been made in respect of planning how matches may take place, with draft operational plans put before the board at this week’s meeting and incorporating many areas such as: stadium preparation, medical provisions, staffing, media access and, of course, measures needed to ensure the safety of all participants including first-team players and staff, match officials, and everyone else associated with the matchday environment.”


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