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How Chelsea’s Champions League fate and Willian contract will be affected by Premier League plan

Ending the season by June 30 irrespective of the number of unplayed games is one of the options set to be discussed by Premier League clubs tomorrow in their latest meeting to navigate their way through the coronavirus pandemic that has placed almost every league across the world on hiatus.

According to various reports the prime reason behind the suggestion relates to the expiry of player contracts on that date. Yet such a move would benefit some clubs more than others – and Chelsea are in the former camp.

A June 30 cut-off point would make it almost impossible to complete all 38 games and that strengthens the odds of Frank Lampard’s side sealing a top four place, solely because the chasing pack have fewer opportunities to claw back points.

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Chelsea lead Manchester United by three points in the current standings, with Wolves and Sheffield United a further two points behind. The Blades also have a game in hand.

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It is unclear what order fixtures would be played in but if it continued in order Chelsea would also likely avoid a trip to Anfield. On the flip side, should they start slowly upon football’s resumption there is less room for maneouvre – but that is applicable to all teams.

The player contract situation would also ease a considerable headache. If the season was to extend into July, four senior players would need to negotiate new deals. Fifa have released guidance for such a scenario but employment law would complicate matters.

Willian, who returned to Brazil at the start of lockdown with the club’s permission, has been a key player this season but a standoff has developed over a new deal. He wants a longer-term extension but the club only offer one year for players over the age of 30.

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