Premier League clubs fears on player contracts and inability to financially plan

Top-flight clubs fear any hope of completing the season is disappearing with their planning for a restart in chaos.

The Premier League remains committed to finishing the campaign and laid out a series of scenarios to all 20 clubs at their shareholders’ meeting on Friday.

But the video conference call, which lasted two hours, ended with a resolution to revisit the situation in three weeks’ time in line with the government’s lockdown extension on Thursday by the same period.

It has left a number of clubs concerned at their inability to build a clear financial plan with the June 30 deadline approaching for the 57 Premier League players out of contract.

There is also anxiety at the damage to the integrity of the competition if players exercise their right to walk away from their squads after that date.

Clubs want the League finished behind closed doors in order to receive their Sky payment totalling £762million – including overseas rights.

Clubs fear that they are running up debts with the lack of action and that they have not budgeted for players remaining beyond June if the restart takes the action into July.

A number of first team players would be free agents by then, including Chelsea duo Willian and Olivier Giroud, Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen, Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser, Leicester's Wes Morgan, Everton's Leighton Baines, Burnley's Jeff Hendrick, Sheffield United’s John Lundstram and Manchester City's David Silva are among the others who would be out of contract.

FIFA has called for contracts to be “extended until such time that the season does actually end”. But it is understood that that recommendation is unenforceable under English employment law.

The Premier League – who have been following government advice throughout – remain powerless to provide any clarity to clubs desperate to find a way forward.

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