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Summer season: No games before May but indefinite extension agreed

THE English domestic football season is to be extended ‘indefinitely’, with no chance of the current campaign being annulled.

A Premier League meeting yesterday eased fears Liverpool, who are on the brink of a first title for 30 years, could be denied their crowning glory by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the suspension of top-flight football, Football League and women’s professional fixtures has been extended from April 4 to April 30, the governing bodies are preparing to extend the season well into the summer and beyond if necessary — and adjust the 2020-21 campaign accordingly.

The possibility of declaring the season null and void — a previous suggestion of Karren Brady, vice-chairman of relegation-threatened West Ham — was not considered.

Clubs did discuss the financial impact of the pandemic and their need to finish this season to fulfil commitments to broadcast partners but not the possibility of additional funds to support cash-strapped EFL clubs.

A joint statement from the Premier League, EFL, Football Association, women’s professional game, Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers’ Association said: ‘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 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.’

At present, it is understood no one is looking beyond June 30 but world governing body Fifa has set up a working group to consider temporary measures on player contracts, with standard deals expiring on June 30.

An Arsenal statement said: ‘We all want to be back playing football as soon as possible but only when it is safe to be doing so.’