The suspension of professional football in England has been extended to April 30 at the earliest, it was announced today.

That has seen Carlisle United cancel their end-of-season dinner, due to be held four days earlier, as the Blues continue to deal with the implications of the coronavirus crisis.

The extension follows a joint statement issued by the EFL, Premier League, Football Association, Professional Footballers' Association and League Managers' Association as the game tries to find a way forward amid the pandemic.

Matches had initially been postponed until April 3 but it comes as no surprise that games involving clubs like Carlisle United will not now resume so soon.

The organisations also said the normal deadline for the 2019/20 season to end has been extended "indefinitely", beyond the normal June 1 cut-off which is in the FA's rulebook.

That underlines the game's intention to try and complete the current campaign at some stage.

The statement says: "The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the PFA and LMA, understand we are in unprecedented times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.

"We're united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019-20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

"We've collectively supported UEFA in postponing EURO 2020 to create space in the calendar to ensure domestic and European club league and cup matches have an increased opportunity to be played and, in doing so, maintain the integrity of each competition.

"The FA’s Rules and Regulations state that “the season shall terminate not later than June 1” and “each competition shall, within the limit laid down by The FA, determine the length of its own playing season”.

"However, our board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019-20 season in relation to professional football. Additionally, we've collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday, April 30.

"The progress of COVID-19 remains unclear and we can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority.

"We will continue to follow Government advice and work collaboratively to keep the situation under review and explore all options available to find ways of resuming the season when the conditions allow.

"We would all like to re-emphasise that our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19."

The extended suspension of games means Carlisle United see five further games shelved, on top of the four already sidelined as a result of the initial postponement until April 3.

Blues chief executive Nigel Clibbens said training is now suspended until April 3.

He said of today's announcement: "This demonstrates once again just how difficult restarting the season is going to be. We'll now have to wait and see where things are at towards mid-April when, once again, the position will be reassessed.

"The unpredictably is not something anybody can plan for, and the important thing through all of this is that we continue to do what is best for the health and wellbeing of everyone connected to our football club."

He said the end-of-season dinner, due to be held in the Halston hotel in Carlisle on Sunday, April 26, had been postponed and added: "If anyone who has booked seats for this event has any concerns over that, particularly if deposits have been paid or reservations made, then please do get in touch with our commercial department.

"Obviously we don't have a new date for that event as yet, which is just another example of how we are all reacting and adapting to the ever-changing and unprecedented circumstances we face."