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EFL: Update as at 19 March 2020

Postponement to football activity extended

19 March 2020

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 are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 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.

We would all like to re-emphasise that our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.

Reacting to this news, chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: "The statement that followed yesterday's EFL board meeting didn't offer anything new, in terms of when the fixtures would start up again, although there was a clear desire stated from everybody that they wanted to complete the season, if at all possible.

"The information which has been received this afternoon tells us that fixtures have been postponed until 30 April, at the earliest, and that all training is to be suspended until 3 April. 

"This demonstrates once again just how difficult restarting the season is going to be. We'll now have to wait and see where things are at towards mid-April when, once again, the position will be reassessed.

"It's a situation that really is changing by the day, at this moment in time, and we have to be mindful of that in any comment we make or any response we give. Major changes between updates are becoming a bit of a pattern, and I think that will continue for us all for a long time yet.

"Just how long that will be the case, we don't know, but we're going to have to get used to these changing events and changes of direction as the situation continues to unfold. The unpredictably is not something anybody can plan for, and the important thing through all of this is that we continue to do what is best for the health and wellbeing of everyone connected to our football club."

"One immediate impact for us that comes from this is that our end of season dinner, scheduled for Sunday 26 April, has now been postponed," he added. "If anyone who has booked seats for this event has any concerns over that, particularly if deposits have been paid or reservations made, then please do get in touch with our commercial department.

"Obviously we don't have a new date for that event as yet, which is just another example of how we are all reacting and adapting to the ever-changing and unprecedented circumstances we face."

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