The Premier League have acknowledged that the 2019/20 season stands no chance of resuming at the beginning of May amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement released on Friday, the Premier League announced that top-flight football will only return when “it is safe and appropriate to do so” and said that the restart date remains “under constant review”.
However, the league’s administrative body and its 20 clubs remain committed to seeing the current campaign through to a climax if and when Government and medical guidance permits it.
In their previous video conference a fortnight ago, Premier League clubs and the powers-that-be agreed on a temporary suspension of play until April 30.
A resumption at the beginning of May is a non-starter, however, and we are set for a considerably longer period of downtime than initially bargained for in mid-March.
Fantasy Premier League may follow suit with an announcement given that the Gameweek 36-38 deadlines are going to be affected in the same way as the six sets of fixtures before it.
FPL have so far been retaining the pre-scheduled Gameweek deadlines, with no fixtures taking place but the usual rules surrounding free transfers, points hits and head-to-head scores still applying.
The next deadline (Gameweek 32) is on Saturday morning at 11.30am.
There were other issues on the agenda at Friday’s meeting, including an agreement that clubs would consult their players regarding a 30% pay cut.
The league also unanimously voted to advance funds of £125m to the EFL and National League, with some clubs further down the football pyramid starting to struggle.
The Premier League committed £20m to support the NHS, communities, families and vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, meanwhile.
The full statement can be read here, with the most pertinent passage concerning the restart below:
At a meeting of Premier League Shareholders today, clubs discussed in detail how to respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
First and foremost, it was reaffirmed that the overriding priority is to aid the health and wellbeing of the nation and our communities, including players, coaches, managers, club staff and supporters.
It was acknowledged that the Premier League will not resume at the beginning of May – and that the 2019/20 season will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
The restart date is under constant review with all stakeholders, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic develops and we work together through this very challenging time.
The Premier League is working closely with the whole of professional football in this country, as well as with the Government, public agencies and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the game achieves a collaborative solution.
With this, there is a combined objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played, enabling us to maintain the integrity of each competition.
However, any return to play will only be with the full support of Government and when medical guidance allows.