PLANS have been approved by FIFA to extend player contracts beyond the current season - granting Colchester United's soon to be out-of-contract players more time at the club.

And the U's also look likely to get additional time in the transfer market this summer, after the move by football's world governing body in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

A range of changes have been unanimously agreed upon by a task force chaired by FIFA vice-president Vittorio Montagliani.

And those alterations - drawn up in response to the Covid-19 situation - are set to affect League Two clubs like Colchester.

The League Two 2019-20 campaign is currently suspended indefinitely due to the pandemic, with no indication as yet as to when it might continue - if at all.

A number of Colchester players are due to see their existing contracts expire this summer, including skipper Luke Prosser, Ryan Jackson, Frank Nouble and Brandon Comley.

However, it is unclear as to whether or not the U's have an option to trigger a one-year extension to the respective deals.

Contracts covering the current season in England are set to expire on June 30 but FIFA has now said "it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end".

But questions remain as to what happens if a player does not want to adhere with those principles, along with clubs looking to offload players at the end of their contract.

Transfer windows are also changing this summer, with FIFA saying "it is necessary to adjust the normal regulatory position to the new factual circumstances" when it comes to player movement.

A statement from the governing body read: "Accordingly, FIFA will be flexible and will allow the relevant transfer windows to be moved so they fall between the end of the old season and the start of the new season.

"At the same time, FIFA will try to ensure, where possible, an overall level of coordination and will also bear in mind the need to protect the regularity, integrity and proper functioning of competitions, so that the sporting results of any competition are not unfairly disrupted."

FIFA has also looked at football employment agreements during this crisis and "strongly encourages clubs and players to work together to find agreements and solutions during the period when football is suspended".

Clubs, players, leagues, national associations and confederations were all represented on the task force led by the chairman of the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee, working on recommendations and guidelines to address practical issues brought about by the coronavirus crisis.

The Bureau of the FIFA Council endorsed a set of principles unanimously agreed upon by the task force on Tuesday, with contracts and transfer windows key topics.

The governing body said: "If parties cannot agree and, as a consequence, cases come to FIFA, the factors to be examined will include the following: whether there was a genuine attempt by the club to reach agreement with the players; what the economic situation of the club is; the proportionality of any adjustment to player contracts; the net income position of players after any contract adjustment; and whether players have been treated equally or not."