English football suspended further with 2019/20 season extended ‘indefinitely’
PUBLISHED: 13:11 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:26 19 March 2020
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The FA has suspended professional football until April 30 as the game steps up its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The outbreak had previously seen football suspended until at least April 4 but that has been pushed back further, with no games played now until April 30 at the absolute earliest.
A statement released by The FA makes clear the preferred stance is to finish the current campaign when it is safe to do so, rather than call an immediate halt to the season or declare it void.
The FA’s rules state domestic football should not be played after June 1, but this latest announcement has seen those restrictions lifted with the 2019/20 season extended ‘indefinitely’.
UEFA have already postponed Euro 2020 for a year meaning, should it be safe to do so, there is space this summer for the game to resume. The Euros were due to take place between June 11 and July 11.
That means Ipswich Town’s next scheduled fixture is the home clash with MK Dons, scheduled for May 3 and previously set as the final game of the campaign. Further extensions to the suspension shouldn’t be ruled out.
The Blues’ players are currently away from the club’s training ground until March 25, with that period also likely to be extended.
The FA statement reads: “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’re 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’ve 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, our Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019-20 season in relation to professional football. Additionally, we’ve collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday 30 April.
“The progress of COVID-19 remains unclear and we can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority.
“We will continue to follow Government advice and work collaboratively to keep the situation under review and explore all options available to find ways of resuming the season when the conditions allow.
“We would all like to re-emphasise that our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.”