In what would be a shocking development, a growing number of Premier League clubs are reportedly planning to propose ending the league season on July 1 amidst the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
The Mirror is reporting that up to nine clubs will propose in a Friday video conference meeting to end to the current campaign, whether or not the remaining games can be completed.
With the terms on player contracts, as the traditionally do, ending on June 30, sources tell The Times that there is a growing distaste to confront the “contract chaos” that could ensue were clubs to try obligate players to honor deals after that date.
While Liverpool would be forced to tangle with the expiring contracts of the likes of Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne, the league leaders have obviously expressed a committment to seeing out their maiden Premier League season. However a number of clubs with the combination of a bevy of similarly expiring player deals and mathematical safety in terms of European qualification or relegation fights, such as Chelsea or West Ham, are rumored be particularly keen to avoid the potential legal battles they might face.
After some understandable early chaos in the wake of the season’s suspension, the consensus that had prevailed to this point was that the financial consequences of not playing the final nine matchdays—primarily in the form of the £762m in broadcast revenue refunds that has already been spent—obligated the clubs to find a playing solution to ending the season.
Going even further, global football body, FIFA has attempted to provide solutions by extending contracts and transfer windows. However, the growing appetite to forgo extensions and even take on the financial costs of an early season termination could reflect an awareness that the end to the country’s lockdown amidst the coronavirus pandemic is not clearly in sight.
Acute financial pain or murky legal uncertainty: the outcome of the Friday meeting should reveal the direction in which the Premier League is currently leaning.