FA have made the right call, insists Port Vale striker Tom Pope



Port Vale striker Tom Pope has welcomed the decision to try to finish the current season before starting the next one.

The Premier League, EFL and Women’s Super League had said the season wouldn’t re-start until the first weekend in April at the earliest, but following a meeting on Thursday, they have moved that back to April 30 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the FA have suspended the rule that says domestic football must be finished by June 1, ‘extending indefinitely’ the date when the 2019/20 campaign has to finish.

Pope says public health must be the priority and so it is impossible to predict when the season might re-start.

But he hopes it can be extended and finished, even if that means cutting short the close season, and possibly pre-season, and potentially also putting back the 2020/21 campaign.

He says that is preferable to finishing 2019/20 at this point and starting again with 2020/21.

He said: “I think that is the most logical thing to do, to extend the season, go into the summer and then just give the players a short couple of weeks off.

“There are all sorts of suggestions but you do want to do it on merit.

“Liverpool won’t get caught, they will be champions. But I am sure their players won’t want it done that way, they will want to do it on merit.

“The season has to be finished and this is the right way to do it.”

The FA say: “The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers Association, understand we are in unprecedented times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by Covid-19.

“We’re united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019-20 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 ‘the season shall terminate not later than 1 June’ and ‘each competition shall, within the limit laid down by the FA, determine the length of its own playing season’.

“However, our 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.”





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