05:30PM, Tuesday 07 April 2020
The FA’s chairman Greg Clarke has reiterated the association’s commitment to finishing the league season, but advised it will continue to follow public health guidance.
Football, like many other sectors of the economy has been hard hit by the sudden arrival of coronavirus and subsequent postponement of league seasons.
Clubs have been closed, staff put on furlough, pay cuts have been taken, terraces are empty and cash flow has stalled. All of the above applies to Maidenhead United, but Clarke stressed that even Premier League clubs are not immune from the affects of the virus.
In his statement on Tuesday he said: “Our government is rightly cautious as human life is at stake and prudence is the only sensible option.
“We are committed to finishing the professional football season as this resolves the issues of promotion and relegation on merit. However, we may not be able to finish the season as football is not our priority, human life is, and we will do as the government directs as the pandemic unfolds.
“Further down the football pyramid our leagues have requested that the season is curtailed and that decision rests with the FA Council.”
The National League is taking specialist legal advice before deciding how it will resolve the issue of promotion and relegation having suspended the league season indefinitely.
Clarke went on to warn that clubs could be lost as finances collapse and called on all stakeholders – players, fans, clubs, owners and administrators to take ‘their share of the pain’ to keep the game alive.
“We must have a plan to ensure that English football is not decimated should this season be lost and the next season blighted,” he said.
“We hope we do not need this plan as we are determined to finish the professional football season, however, we would be fools not to develop a contingency plan.
"Time is pressing as football burns through its cash reserves with no sign yet of a resumption of the game. Pointing fingers serves no purpose. Football is a team game and now is the time for teamwork.”
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