Stoke City could face the prospect of playing games well into the summer, with the Premier League announcing a suspension of all fixtures.
On Friday, all elite football in England was put on hold, with games not set to resume until the weekend of April 4, at the earliest.
That could yet be put back, with experts believing the coronavirus contagion could continue to affect the country for months to come.
The Potters have nine games remaining this season as they look to move further away from the Championship drop zone.
There have been suggestions that the league could be voided or prematurely ended, with all options still on the table.
The most likely scenario at this point looks to be games running into the summer, in order for all competitions to be completed in their entirety.
However, one additional concern for clubs up and down the land is how it could impact players both on-loan, and those coming to the end of their deals.
The majority of contracts run up until June 30, so if games go on past that date it could cause a logistical ‘nightmare’ for clubs according to agents.
Our colleagues at Football.London have spoken to a number of agents who have attempted to outline what could happen on July 1.
“From a straight contractual perspective, away from loans, if a player’s contract expires on 30th June, I can’t see anything being enforceable to make him stay beyond that,” one representative said.
“I can’t see that anything could legally override players from saying ‘I’m not staying beyond 30th June.’ Or clubs from saying ‘We don’t want this guy after 30th June.'”
Stoke currently have one player on-loan, with James Chester arriving from Aston Villa in the January window. Based on the agent quoted, should the player and club come to an arrangement he could continue playing for Michael O’Neill’s men.
In terms of players with contracts expiring, Stoke had Mame Diouf, Adam Federici and Stephen Ward. Should the season extend past June 30, clubs could be forced to attempt to arrange short term deals or face losing them with games remaining.