The Premier League, EFL and Professional Footballers Association (PFA) have released a statement this evening confirming they will work together to mitigate the economic impact of the suspension of the 2019/20 season.
The three football bodies suggested that “difficult decisions will have to be taken” to get through an unprecedented period of uncertainty in the modern game.
More meetings will take place next week to work on a joint plan about what happens next.
All elite-level football in England is currently on hold until April 30, at the very earliest, due to the coronavirus outbreak taking hold across the country, with the number of cases of COVID-19 continuing to rise on a daily basis.
With the country and much of Europe in lockdown, it is impossible to make any decision on when the season is likely to resume or end, what will happen with player contracts or the transfer window.
It is likely players will require a mini-pre-season before action restarts – and only last night Michael O’Neill admitted that it was “certainly ambitious” to try to finish the domestic and international calendar before the current June 30 cut-off date.
Stoke City have confirmed they will pay wages and there will be no job losses over the next five uncertain months – but other clubs have already asked for or discussed wage deferrals.
The lack of match-day revenue is going to clobber clubs, particularly towards the lower end of the English football pyramid.
In a joint-statement released on Friday evening, the football bodies said: “The Premier League, EFL and PFA met today and discussed the growing seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was stressed that the thoughts of all three organisations continue to be with everyone affected by the virus.
“The Premier League, EFL and PFA agreed that difficult decisions will have to be taken in order to mitigate the economic impact of the current suspension of professional football in England and agreed to work together to arrive at shared solutions.
“The leagues will not recommence until April 30 at the earliest. They will only do so when it is safe and conditions allow.
“Further meetings will take place next week with a view to formulating a joint plan to deal with the difficult circumstances facing the leagues, their clubs, players, staff and fans.”