Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has called for a ‘Festival of Football’ with games every day to help get the season completed when it is safe to play again following the coronavirus pandemic.
Professional football in England will not resume until April 30 at the earliest – but with the country currently in lockdown, that appears a very optimistic target date.
On Thursday, the Football Association announced results for the 2019-20 campaign will be expunged for non-league divisions below the National League and National League North and South.
Our board has agreed to extend the 2019-20 professional football season indefinitely, with leagues and competitions now suspended until at least 30 April.https://t.co/tVh1EadOta
— The FA (@FA) March 19, 2020
The ruling also covers women’s football below the Women’s Super League and Championship, with no promotion and relegation, while grassroots football has also been brought to a close.
Newcastle are currently 13th in the Premier League, with nine games left to play and also through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, where they are set to host holders Manchester City.
Magpies boss Bruce accepts that football must not consider a return “until it is absolutely safe to do so”, but clubs should be ready to hit the ground running.
📞 #NUFC legend Bob Moncur and a number of club staff are taking time to phone elderly and vulnerable supporters who face an extended period of self isolation.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 26, 2020
“We have to try and get this season finished, whatever that takes, everybody wants that – but we must also remember that the health and safety of players and staff is far more important than football,” Bruce said in an interview with The Telegraph.
“We should not return to training until it is absolutely safe to do so.
“We can have a ‘Festival of Football’ month, games every day, teams playing two or three games a week.
“It is not ideal, but if we can play 10 to 15 games in December and the start of January, we can do it to get this season finished.
“It probably means the start of next season will be delayed, we will probably have to scrap one of the cup competitions and do without a winter break, but it can be done.
“Whatever, however, we will find a way.”