By Mark Smith

20th Mar, 2020 | 7:30pm

'Can of worms' – Ian Harte claims FA and Leeds legal team could have serious issue to sort

Ian Harte has claimed that the ongoing Coronavirus suspension could have opened a can of worms for Leeds United and the EFL.

The former Whites defender admitted that the FA and the legal team at Elland Road could have to spring into action regarding players contracts at the club.

There are a number of loan players critical to Leeds’ side this season who are out of contract in June, and with the season set to be extended, there has been no clarity around the situation.

Harte claimed that it is a freak situation that could keep recurring this season with no clear answer ahead of everyone.

“I think we’re going to be in the same situation again in two weeks,” he told Football League World.

“It’s a freak what’s going on and hopefully it’ll disappear as quickly as it’s come.

“For the players under contract, for the players that are on loan, it’s just opened up a can of worms, but that’s where the legal team and the FA will have to act, but I’m not sure what they’re going to do.”

Victor Orta and his scouting team worked hard to bring in the likes of Illan Meslier, Ben White, Jack Harrison and Jean-Kevin Augustin on loan, and there will need to be some sort of agreement reached for them to remain at Leeds past June should it be needed.

Players such as White and Harrison have been critical to the Whites and Marcelo Bielsa this season, and should they not be available for the final nine games Leeds would be significantly weaker.

However, this isn’t a situation peculiar to Leeds and it seems that something will need to be sorted out if the season is extended – as is looking likely.

Loan players are still under contract with parent clubs so it should be fairly simple to change contract dates.

However, the situation would be different for players on permanent deals, such as Gaetano Berardi. He’s out of contract in the summer and it’s highly unlikely he could legally be forced to stay if he wanted to leave.

Hopefully, the reward of promotion and the squad spirit should keep the players together at Leeds but that might not be the case everywhere.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay opens up on Bielsa choices surrounding ‘critical’ issue with backroom staff