English soccer set for virus impact talks

Leeds players and coaches are to defer their wages to ensure non-playing staff get paid.
Leeds players and coaches are to defer their wages to ensure non-playing staff get paid.

A meeting to discuss the financial impact of the pandemic-enforced suspension of action on English professional soccer is set to take place on Friday.

Cost-cutting measures due to lost revenue are even being considered at English Premier League (EPL) level.

In the second-tier Championship, Leeds United confirmed on Thursday that their players, management and senior staff have volunteered to defer their wages for the foreseeable future so that all non-football staff can be paid during the sport's shutdown.

On Wednesday, players' union the Professional Footballers' Association called for an urgent meeting with the EPL and the English Football League (EFL) to discuss a way through the crisis.

It is understood talks have already taken place between the union and the two competitions prior to Friday, and that this will be a continuation of those discussions.

Professional soccer in England will not resume until April 30 at the earliest, though with the country in lockdown that seems an optimistic date.

Last week the EFL released a STG 50 million ($A100 million) package to help its clubs manage cash flow issues caused by the suspension in action.

It is understood the Premier League has not held any discussions on any assistance packages it can offer to clubs in the EFL or further down the pyramid.

The EPL could still face financial penalties itself from broadcasters in the event that the 2019-20 season cannot be completed, although the member clubs remain committed to getting the season finished.

The season has been extended indefinitely, which is also likely to mean that standard player contracts that expire on June 30 will need to be looked at.

World governing body FIFA has set up a working group to look at temporary amendments and dispensations to safeguard clubs and players, and it is also looking at adjustments to the summer transfer window.

Current contracts for players and coaches should be extended until the end of the delayed seasons, according to an internal FIFA document presented to its Coronavirus Working Group, according to reports.

The PFA said on Wednesday: "In order to deal with this situation, we have called for an urgent meeting with both the Premier League and the EFL to discuss how we might proceed going forward."

Australian Associated Press