(Reuters) - Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says he is hopeful players whose contracts expire in June will sign short-term deals and finish the Premier League season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the novel coronavirus outbreak bringing world soccer to a standstill, global body FIFA last month recommended extending players’ contracts that are due to end in June.
The deals of Brazilian midfielder Willian and French forward Olivier Giroud will expire on June 30 and Lampard said he wants to finish the season with all the resources he began it with as fourth-placed Chelsea look to seal a Champions League spot.
“We have big players in that position so that’s obviously something I’m looking at carefully,” Lampard told the club’s website.
“The ones out of contract here have been great servants ... and have a lot of feeling for the club, but of course they’ll be concerned about themselves in terms of how they are now, and if pre-season is rushed they’ll want to make sure they’re alright.
“Hopefully we can have that arrangement so they can stay with us because if we play again I would love the squad to look as it’s looked all season, but we’ll have to see how that works.”
Premier League clubs will hold a conference call later on Monday to vote on a return to group training before a possible return to action in June.
“Health and safety is the main thing, but we also have to think about the condition of the players in terms of injury and how we can try to move forward when we don’t really know the date of our next game,” Lampard added.
“The first steps will have to be very careful but all managers will be thinking a similar thing.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherfordpeter.firstname.lastname@example.org; +822 6936 1482