THE suspension of all professional football in England has been extended until April 30 at the earliest.

A joint statement issued by the FA, Premier League, EFL, Women's Super League and Women's Championship has confirmed the extension of the current shutdown by almost another month.

It had initially been hoped to be able to resume professional football on the weekend of April 3.

However, with the coronavirus crisis escalating, it will not be possible to begin playing matches at the start of next month.

The footballing bodies have relaxed their rules on the current season having to end by June 1, and have described the situation as an "indefinite extension".

That implies there remains a strong desire to play out the current season to a completion, even if that means matches having to take place deep into the summer.

The joint statement said: "The FA, Premier League, EFL, Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until Friday 3 April at the earliest.

"This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the COVID-19 virus. 

"It will also apply to all England team fixtures at every level and all FA competitions including the Emirates FA Cup and the Women’s FA Cup, along with academy and youth-team matches.

"The decision is being made purely on the number of cases requiring self-isolation and the impact on facilities. Given the steps being taken across clubs, there is no alternative but for today’s action. However, all parties are committed at this time to trying to complete this season’s domestic fixture programme and are liaising to establish appropriate options to do so. 

"We are liaising with the National League pyramids (men’s and women’s) and will continue to offer guidance and support. Any decision to continue playing or to postpone their respective competitions is a matter for each league as autonomous bodies within the game.

"We will continue to monitor all Government advice with the situation under constant review, with the priority being the health and well-being of all. Further updates will follow in due course."