Portsmouth braced for contract crisis if season extended - with doubts over three first-choice players
The anticipated rescheduling of Euro 2020 in favour of a 12-month delay will provide domestic football with the flexibility to extend their seasons into the summer.
Potentially, that will enable league programmes to be completed, once the current suspension is lifted.
Crucially, however, many playing contracts in the Premier League and Football League are set to expire on June 30 – or even earlier in terms of loan arrangements.
It renders such footballers as free agents from July 1, allowing them to leave, impacting on clubs across the country.
The situation demands football chiefs come to a resolution, otherwise large numbers of players will be unable to feature during any expanded season.
In the instance of Pompey, presently 10 members of their first-team squad are out of contract after June 30.
They include three of Kenny Jackett’s preferred back four – Christian Burgess, Sean Raggett and Steve Seddon.
The loan spells of Raggett and Seddon finish at the end of May, marking their return to parent clubs Norwich and Birmingham respectively.
Meanwhile, Burgess’ contract officially expires on June 30, unless a fresh deal can be agreed, with the Blues having opened talks several weeks ago.
Failure to reach agreement over his future will signal his Fratton Park departure as a free agent following five seasons at the club.
Potentially, Jackett could be deprived of his first-choice centre-halves and left-back for a period during any rescheduled season - plus the Leasing.com Trophy final.
Ross McCrorie is regarded by the Blues boss as a back-up right-back, yet has still featured in seven of the last eight matches in all competitions.
He is the third and final loanee whose deal finishes at the end of May, booked in for a return to Rangers.
Others out of contract include Lee Brown, Brandon Haunstrup, Oli Hawkins and Brett Pitman, who have largely found themselves as regular substitutes since the turn of the year.
Currently away from Fratton Park on loan are Adam May (Boreham Wood), Luke McGee (Bradford) and Matt Casey (Bognor).
They are officially scheduled back on the south coast when the month of May is over, although are subsequently out of contract at Pompey after June 30.
It’s an issue which will not only devastate Jackett’s first-team and, ultimately, promotion plans, but also every club in the Premier League and Football League.