England suspends soccer until April 30, will extend season

English soccer will remain suspended until at least April 30 because of the coronavirus outbreak

LONDON —
English soccer will remain suspended until at least April 30 because of the coronavirus outbreak, with authorities agreeing Thursday to extend the season “indefinitely” beyond its previous cut-off point of June 1.

“We are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019-20 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,” the Football Association and the Premier League said in a joint statement.

The commitment to completing the current season boosted the likelihood of Liverpool winning its first league title in 30 years. The Reds lead the Premier League by 25 points and needed only two more wins from its last nine games to clinch the title before the virus outbreak caused the suspension of all soccer in the country.

Initially, English authorities suspended play until April 4 but that always appeared to be a holding date while UEFA decided whether to call off the European Championship.

UEFA’s decision on Tuesday to postpone the tournament until 2021 opened up space for domestic leagues like the Premier League to be extended “and, in doing so, maintain the integrity of each competition,” the FA and Premier League said.

The FA board said it has waived a regulation which would normally oblige leagues to finish by June 1 and “agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019-20 season.”

“We will continue to follow government advice,” the statement said, “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.”

———

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js