Premier League matches could last less than 90 minutes when the season resumes, according to PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor.
Top-flight officials are considering a number of measures to improve the safety of players and staff amid the coronavirus crisis, including neutral venues and extra substitutes in every game.
And now Taylor has claimed that another radical proposal to shorten each half is on the table ahead of showdown talks on Project Restart.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has suggested football may not be 45 minutes per half
A number of changes are under consideration as the Premier League try to restart the season
Asked about scrapping the current season on BBC Radio 4, Taylor said: ‘We’ll have to wait and see. I’m talking about protocol that’s coming out, I’m talking about the future.
‘We don’t know the future, what we do know is what propositions have been put forward and ideas. More subs, games possibly not being full 45 minutes each way, neutral stadiums, there’s lots of things put forward.
‘We’re trying to wait to see what the proposals are and have the courtesy to let the managers and coaches and players assimilate all those and come to a considered view.’
Questioned on whether the idea of having more substitutes would negate the need to shorten matches, Taylor added: ‘There’s a lot of possibilities. Ideally you want to keep the integrity of the competition and of course that was about playing home and away, that’s about having the same squad of players before it was suspended.
‘There’s lots of points to be made, but above all can the seasons be completed, as long as it takes, and above all can it be completed safely.’
On the prospect of games being shortened, EFL chief Rick Parry said on Tuesday that there hadn’t been any specific discussions about it that he was aware of.
Speaking via videolink to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee he said: ‘Talks have been held on increasing subs to five, the aim (of shortening matches) could only be to reduce the strain on the players, who are coming abck after a fairly long time away. I don’t think we should be ruling out any creative ideas at the momemt, I haven’t heard that one before but no reason it should not be added to things to disucss.
EFL chairman Rick Parry spoke to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday
‘We would have a crammed fixture schedule so perhaps the thinking is that it would alleviate the tiredness, help with recovery and lessen likelihood of injuries. I guess that is what Gordon’s thinking was but we haven’t studied it.’
Last week, Sergio Aguero revealed that he and the ‘majority’ of players are scared about returning to action too early and putting their friends and family at risk.
Sergio Aguero (right) claimed that players were scared about returning to action too soon
Taylor says players have a right to choose when they play again amid the coronavirus crisis
Asked what he thought about the Manchester City star’s comments and whether the players he represents had a right to be afraid, Taylor, 75, said: ‘Sergio is a top-class player and he is entitled to his opinion.
‘It’s not a question of being scared, it’s a question about being fully informed for the relevant authorities to ensure it’s as safe as it can be to return and to pick out any particular statements or choose any parts of that process. It’s not fair until you look at the whole menu.
‘Are you trying to say my players are frightened to return? They’re professional sportsmen and women, and of course they’re concerned about their own safety, they’re not stupid and not naive so they would have to be satisfied it’s safe to return and it’s their choice.’
The use of neutral venues like Wembley is among the options being discussed by clubs
Taylor, who denied that teams involved in the relegation battle want the current season to be cancelled, insists that a return to action in June remains the target.
‘The very fact that you’re in a professional sport, you need to be very resilient and bounce back because you’ll get more setbacks,’ he added.
‘I like to think that’s how my members are. It remains in process and we will wait and see and take it on a day-by-day basis and see if it’s achievable but if we don’t try then it’s never going to be achievable.
‘If everything looks promising, you wouldn’t be thinking of matches being played middle of June, I would estimate.’