Europe's top clubs plan emergency meeting over summer transfer window - sources
The European Club Association (ECA), which consists of football's most powerful clubs including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United, has scheduled a board meeting on Friday ahead of emergency talks with FIFA over the potential disruption to this summer's transfer window caused by the coronavirus pandemic, sources have told ESPN.
Every major football competition in Europe, with the exception of the Belarussian Vysheyshaya Liga, has been forced to suspend all fixtures as a result of spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many European nations, including Italy, France and Spain, are in complete lockdown due to the crisis.
With society on hold across the continent, football operations throughout the major leagues have ground to halt.
And with no date set for a return to action, concerns are growing within the game that the shutdown will lead to a huge impact on this summer's transfer market.
Sources have told ESPN that leading clubs have already held preliminary discussions with FIFA over possible solutions to the issues that will arise as a result of the lengthy periods without football, including the loss of income through attendances and broadcasting revenue.
There are also concerns that, with the prospect of the 2019-20 season being played to a conclusion at an unknown date in the future, the current timescale of the summer window, which runs from June 10 to Sept. 1, will prove to be unworkable if football is to be played throughout the summer months.
All professional playing contracts currently end on June 30, which is likely to pose another major problem unless FIFA is prepared to allow temporary extensions for those players whose deals are due to expire at the end of this season.
The ECA was founded in 2008 and is made up of 232 clubs across Europe. The 24-member Executive Board, led by Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, is due to meet on Friday with the impact of the coronavirus on the transfer market set to be at the top of the agenda.
Senior figures from Real, Barca, United, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Ajax are also represented on the Executive Board.
Sources have told ESPN that the video conference will look to find a route through the many problems that have been thrown up by the coronavirus crisis before further talks with FIFA next week.