Premier League teams have reportedly been informed that the 2020-21 campaign must start latest by the first week of September, despite delays to the current season over the coronavirus crisis.
COVID-19 has put a stop to all football action for the foreseeable future, with no proposed return date due to concerns over the safety of players and supporters.
In a meeting between top-flight sides on Friday, English teams reiterated their desire to complete the current campaign and are mulling over scheduling plans.
Clubs are still hopeful of a restart in the week starting June 8, but that will depend on Government guidelines, making it almost impossible for them to plan ahead.
According to the Telegraph, the new September start date for the next campaign has put huge pressure on teams to wrap up the 2020-21 season quickly.
That date effectively means matches would need to resume by July in order to play out the remaining 92 matches of this campaign in time.
A Premier League statement on Friday read: ‘We are acutely aware of the distress COVID-19 is causing and our thoughts are with all those directly affected by the pandemic.
‘In common with other businesses and industries, the Premier League and our clubs are working through complex planning scenarios.
‘We are actively engaging with stakeholders, including broadcast partners, and our aim is to ensure we are in a position to resume playing when it it safe to do so and with the full support of the government.
‘The health and well-being of players, coaches, managers, club staff, and supporters are our priority and the league will only restart when medical guidance allows.
‘Today’s shareholders’ meeting provided an opportunity to discuss possible scheduling models. It remains our objective to complete the 2019-20 season but at this stage all dates are tentative while the impact of COVID-19 develops.
‘In response to the pandemic, the PL, our clubs and players have provided vital support for communities and the NHS and will continue to do so after matches recommence.’