Four Stoke City senior players will have their contracts extended for at least a few weeks under Fifa’s new plan.
Adam Federici, Mame Diouf, Stephen Ward and loan defender James Chester are all out of contract at the bet365 Stadium this summer, with their deals expiring on June 30.
But with the coronavirus crisis bringing about a halt to the game, the Championship and divisions around the world are not expected to finish until after that date.
Now, Fifa are set to officially push back the end of the campaign – and the start of the transfer window – with player contracts running up to the new finish date.
That includes players on season-long loans.
Thus, Badou Ndiaye, Kevin Wimmer, Harry Souttar, Joe Bursik, Peter Etebo, Benik Afobe, Moritz Bauer and Ryan Woods will be allowed to continue at their temporary homes if and until 2019/20 comes to a conclusion.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed all the factual circumstances around football for this season.
“So, FIFA, together with the stakeholders, has come up with some practical ideas and proposals to tackle these new circumstances. Whilst this will not solve each and every problem, it should serve to bring a measure of stability and clarity to football for the foreseeable future.
“We hope that this collaborative effort, under the leadership of FIFA, can provide a positive example of how football can come together and show unity, solidarity and a spirit of compromise in order to face the challenging times ahead. But before these times come, one thing must be clear to everyone, especially now: health comes first, well before football.”
Left-back Ward, aged 34, joined Stoke as a free agent last summer after leaving Burnley and emerged as a regular in the opening few weeks of Michael O’Neill’s reign.
He said last week: “I am up at the end of the season so I am anxious about what will happen but clubs don’t know what the position is with the transfer window, with contracts.
“The most important thing for me, and other players, is keeping our families safe, there are people out there in the world in more need of attention than professional footballers.
“We can’t do much about our own positions at the moment.”
He added: “Depending on how long this goes on, I will have to think about my future but at the minute I am focused on staying fit and seeing what happens.”
Federici has been linked with a return to Australia and Mame Diouf to Norway, where he first made his break in Europe and started a family.
Chester’s deal is also due to end at parent club Aston Villa and these few months were supposed to be a chance for him to start a new chapter.
O’Neill said back in February: “He was very keen to come here, which was positive, because when we spoke to other players they maybe didn’t have that same enthusiasm.
“Come the summer, it depends on how things progress between now and then to see if it becomes a more permanent deal. Whether it’s what James wants and what the club wants.
“The signs are we’ve got a top professional on our hands and a top player as well.”