Another month off for Brighton and Crawley as football is called off until April 30 - but season can go beyond start of June

Closed for business at present - with no prospect of Brighton playing in the next few weeks / Picture: Getty
Closed for business at present - with no prospect of Brighton playing in the next few weeks / Picture: Getty

The FA says professional football is off until April 30 at the earliest - but the 19-20 season can go beyond the usual cut-off point of June 1 to give clubs a chance to get the campaign finished.

It's not yet clear what the latest thinking is with non-league divisions but it would be a surprise if the same April 30 suspension date was not also soon applied to the semi-pro and amateur game. Whether they too are allowed to extend their season into the summer remains to be seen.

Today's move from the FA gives hope to those campaigning for the current season to be finished - whenever possible - rather than written off.

A statement from the FA issued on Thursday said: "The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the PFA and LMA, 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've 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 that “the season shall terminate not later than the 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've collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday 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."