There will be no professional football played in England until the end of April at the earliest, the game’s governing bodies announced on Thursday.
A commitment to finishing the 2019/20 domestic campaign was reiterated, however, with the original June 1 deadline extended “indefinitely” to accommodate any outstanding fixtures.
Those were the two main takeaway points for Fantasy managers from the meeting between the Premier League and other administrative parties earlier today, although, with so much still unknown surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual disclaimers apply.
In a joint statement, the Football Association, the Premier League, EFL, the women’s professional game, the PFA and the LMA 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 have 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, The FA’s Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season in relation to Professional Football.
Additionally, we have collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than 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.
As things stand in Fantasy Premier League, everything up to and including Gameweek 35 would be affected.
Whether FPL retains the current Gameweek deadlines is another question, however, and there will surely be a further announcement off the back of Thursday’s developments.
So far as we know, the Gameweek 31 deadline – which is set for Friday at 19:00 GMT – will pass as scheduled, with no fixtures taking place but the usual rules surrounding free transfers, points hits and head-to-head scores still applying.
An international break would have followed anyway, so we can likely expect some decision from FPL towers long before Gameweek 32 was originally intended to get underway on April 4.
The two options would be to shift the Gameweek deadlines back to when play resumes (whenever that may be) or to keep as is, thus creating three bumper Gameweeks – including a massive Gameweek 38 – at the season’s end.
That last, increasingly unlikely scenario relies on play actually getting back underway at the start of May, too, which there must be still some doubt about given the projected spread of COVID-19.
Further disruption will potentially occur, then, before we see a ball kicked again.
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