Premier League holds emergency meeting amid coronavirus pandemic



The English Premier League is temporarily suspended until after April 3 because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, and league organizers have called an emergency board meeting Thursday to discuss plans for completing the remaining fixtures.

There are 92 games still be played in the calendar, with Liverpool yet to secure the title, Champions League places still up for grabs and a relegation battle to settle.

All 20 clubs will be present on Thursday’s conference call, where it is expected the league will reiterate its will to finish the season.

UEFA has already postponed Euro 2020 until next year, clearing the way for a delayed end to the domestic season — with June 30 the mooted deadline.

Already at loggerheads

With the UK government stepping up its response to the virus on almost daily, games look unlikely to go ahead as planned after the suspension period is over early next month.

As a result, Thursday’s meeting will be an opportunity to discuss options, with no major decision expected to be made yet.

Leading figures at EPL clubs are already at loggerheads on how best to proceed, with the vice-chair at West Ham United Karren Brady arguing the football season should be declared “null and void”.

Meanwhile, Brighton and Hove Albion’s chief executive Paul Barber says that option would be “incredibly unjust” for league leader Liverpool, which sits 25 points clear and is searching for its first domestic title in 30 years.

Risk to clubs

Such uncertainly also poses a financial risk to clubs, with questions remaining over how the league will manage the TV deals and sponsorships that have been disrupted by the suspension.

“We shall all need to work together to ensure the impact of this crisis does not undermine the future stability of the Club,” Spurs boss Levy wrote in a club statement, saying COVID-19 was the biggest challenge he’d faced in his role.

“This will include working with the wider football industry and its stakeholders to seek to restore the season. … Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff, players, partners, supporters and their families,” he wrote.

“We shall look to come out of this stronger and more resilient than ever. Our hope is that the virus peaks over the coming weeks and that we have a summer to enjoy.”

Thursday’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. ET, and a statement is expected once it concludes.



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