Wilder’s plan if football gets the all clear

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder believes there is a way forward to finishing the current season 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder believes there is a way forward to finishing the current season Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder wants to finish the current Premier League campaign and believes there is a football solution once the sport can resume.

Norwich City and the rest of the top flight clubs are scheduled to meet remotely again on Friday as they assess the on going issues around the current lockdown.

City’s last game was at the Blades on March 7 in a 1-0 defeat that left Wilder’s boys well placed for a remarkable shot at qualifying for Europe, after following the Canaries out of the Championship.

All manner of possible scenarios have been floated since professional football was halted, and Wilder outlined his own thoughts in a Radio Four interview on Thursday morning.

“I don’t think there should be a cut-off,” he said. “I think for the integrity of the competition and competitions, especially the top end of English football and European football, they’ll want to finish the season. I believe there will be an ability next year to adjust with international breaks, moving a few games into midweek and extending the season.

“That gives us the ability through organisation and planning to finish this current season off.

“But only, as everyone has said and I will reiterate that, when it is safe to do so for everybody and we have to take our leave from the government and what they suggest and want us to do.

“Will it feel like a new season when football finally returns? We just have to deal with it, whether it’s behind closed doors or hopefully in the near future with crowds. It’s an unprecedented scenario and we’ll deal with whatever’s in front of us. We’re not scared of managing the fixture list if we do manage to gain one of those European spots.”

Contractual complications with players and commercial deals due to expire this summer prompted reports on Thursday that a June 30 deadline is one proposal under review to complete the campaign.

Professional football remains on hold until the relevant government and health bodies indicate it is safe to return.

Uefa indicated they would like to see domestic leagues resolved by June 30 when they announced the postponement of this summer’s European Championships to 2021.

The FA’s board had previously agreed to change their articles to allow domestic leagues to be extended beyond June 1.

Fifa, world football’s governing body, has already instigated discussions over issues around player contracts and the summer transfer window, which would need to be factored in should games take place beyond June 30.

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