The Professional Footballers’ Association has called for urgent talks with the Premier League and the EFL over the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on players and clubs.

The loss of matchday revenue due to the suspension of English professional football has hit clubs hard, particularly in the EFL, and raised the prospect of clubs asking players to accept wage deferrals.

It was reported on Tuesday that Birmingham had become the first Championship team to do so, and that they were seeking approval from players earning more than £6,000 a week to take a temporary 50 per cent cut.

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The PFA has now urged all sides to talk in a bid to tackle the unprecedented crisis.

“As with other industries, the current COVID-19 crisis is having a severe impact on the finances of the game,” a PFA statement read. “Several clubs have already approached players with a view to imposing pay deferrals.

“In order to deal with this situation, we have called for an urgent meeting with both the Premier League and the EFL to discuss how we might proceed going forward.”

The PFA says it has also worked closely with the Premier League, the EFL and the Women’s Super League on training protocols to best minimise the risks posed by coronavirus.

The union is also part of discussions at international level regarding contracts and the resumption of league action.

World governing body FIFA has established a working group to look at temporary dispensations and amendments to standard June 30 contracts, in the expectation that many leagues will need to play on well beyond that date in order to complete the 2019-20 season.

The PFA’s deputy chief executive, Bobby Barnes, is also the president of the European division of world players’ union Fifpro.

In addition to the reports concerning Birmingham, League Two side Forest Green said they were planning to use the Government’s wage support scheme, whereby it covers up to 80 per cent of salary up to £2,500 a month for employees kept on by a company.

Earlier this month the EFL announced it was releasing a £50m package to clubs to ease cash flow problems.

Professional football in England will not resume until 30 April 30at the earliest. The Premier League’s next clubs meeting will take place on 3 April.

PA

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