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EFL Aiming to Resume Season Behind Closed Doors in June
Thursday, 9th Apr 2020 15:41

The EFL has told clubs it is aiming to restart the season in June and will look to play its three divisions' remaining 113 fixtures, including the play-offs, over 56 days behind closed doors.

Currently fixtures are suspended indefinitely but the EFL has written to clubs outlining what they currently plan as the way forward once football is able to restart.

In a letter from EFL chairman Rick Parry following an EFL board meeting on Wednesday, clubs are advised to put their players on holiday - players are entitled to five weeks’ paid holiday per year - with a view to returning to training on May 16th at the earliest ahead of what's been interpreted to be a June resumption of fixtures. However, those plans depend on Government advice and ongoing developments with the coronavirus pandemic.

Parry writes: “Clubs should be advised not to recommence any training activity with players until May 16 at the earliest.

“Whenever the decision is taken that is safe to resume, we currently estimate that the league will require approximately 56 days to complete the outstanding matches in the season (including play-offs) and we are committed to ensuring that clubs are provided an appropriate notice period to ensure you are able to prepare operationally given the scale and impact of the postponements in place.

“How and when we return (including training) is clearly subject to change and any decisions will be taken in conjunction with the Government and relevant health authorities.

“Clearly, we are in a position whereby the 2019/20 campaign will be extended, but still remain hopeful of a conclusion in the summer months.”

He added: "It is our working assumption at this stage that matches will be played behind closed doors when we eventually return and as part of our contingency planning we are absolutely mindful of the need to try and mitigate the cost of this to clubs as best we can.”

While the plan is to stage the play-off semi-finals as normal, nothing has been confirmed regarding the finals. “No decision has been taken on the likely venue as it will depend on the circumstances at play at the time.”

Parry also revealed that the £125 million advance from the Premier League is subject to a delay while discussions involving the PFA, clubs and other football authorities are continuing.

“In respect of the Premier League’s decision to advance £125m of funds to both the EFL and the National League, the EFL board has taken the decision to put on hold the forwarding of advanced monies while additional clarity is sought on other financial matters, particularly in respect to player wages,” he wrote.

“Achieving a solution for April payroll has to be the priority at present though, understandably, our aim is to provide clubs clarity for planning purposes beyond this as quickly as possible.”

Town, 10th in League One, seven points off the play-offs, have eight games left to play, five at home, three away.

The EFL is also anticipating a latter start to next season with a gap between the two campaigns.

“Looking more long-term, the EFL must remain mindful of the implications that the extension of this season may have on the commencement of the 2020/21 campaign, although we will ensure there is a suitable break between the two, so as to allow clubs and staff sufficient time to regroup and prepare accordingly,” the letter continues.

“I think there will be a sigh of relief as and when we reach that point, and what is clear right now is that Covid-19 continues to present hugely challenging and uncertain times for everyone, and our thoughts are with all those directly affected by the pandemic.”

Photo: Contributed

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warksonwater added 16:36 - Apr 9
Interesting about the play-off finals. Would be weird to still play them in a cavernous Wembley! (Not that we're likely to be involved of course).

big_gaz67 added 17:22 - Apr 9
To even consider playing football before fans can safely return to watch is nothing less than scandalous.

floridaboy added 17:46 - Apr 9
There will be no tackling if social distancing is still in force which surely it will be.

At corners someone will have to run onto the pitch to ensure that all players are at least 6ft apart.

Crazy crazy decision!!

ericclacton added 18:00 - Apr 9
And when we get behind closed doors
then she lets her hair hang down
and then she makes me glad that i'm a man
cos know one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Thankyou everybody for coming tonight it's been a pleasure, goodnight.

gainsboroughblue added 18:01 - Apr 9
What they are aiming to do is irrelevant in terms of whether it will happen or not. Government will have the final say. While there are the best part of a thousand people dying a day, I'm not even sure it's appropriate to even be thinking about it.

jas0999 added 18:22 - Apr 9
I really don’t know what you’d do. I very much dislike the behind closed doors approach, but I dislike even more the season being declared null and void.

runaround added 18:27 - Apr 9
All football governing bodies seem to be interested in is money. No thoughts of fans, clubs, player safety, officials safety, coaches and medical staff safety. All about the money!
Football should continue to be on hold until all restrictions have gone THEN restart the season with fans present. Other seasons can wait until it’s safe

VanDusen added 18:37 - Apr 9
I cannot see this happening. The sheer amount of logistical issues that need to be overcome for it to work are ludicrous as many others have already pointed out on this forum over the past week or two. That's before we find out how many clubs will have gone bust even before we get to this point, let alone those which will still be able to carry on into a new season if/when it can even start with any level of normality. And really - the only real reason it's being contemplated is the Premier League (again!) cacking itself that it will have to hand back hundreds of millions whilst a small number of Championship clubs still retain the chance of hitting that paydirt... If this was still pre-90s it would already have been annulled just like during the war with a reset for 20/21.

In truth football needs to get with the real world and realise this is the great bursting of the bubble that's been brewing for 30 years. It's going to be ruinous, but might provide some of the great equalisation we've hoped for. Let's a) be glad we actually just lose a mid-table disappointment rather than a promotion shot and b) thank goodness that Marcus Evans' generosity keeps us afloat as other sink. We may even find his cutting the cloth according to our means suddenly becomes more competitive in the new world order if we survive this!

Michael101 added 18:42 - Apr 9
Football will start again when sky& by tell them to .sell your sole to the devil then you'll do whatever he says.

jonwillpott added 19:51 - Apr 9
It just shows that football in this country is run by a load of mercenary idiots!! How can they even contemplate this crazy idea when people are dying in their thousands. If medical staff read this they must be appalled as the last thing they need is work that could be avoided when this crisis is over. Get real EFL for goodness sake....pathetic!!!!

Cakeman added 19:54 - Apr 9
Well said Michael101.
When Boris Johnson had to step down from TV duties this week I half expected a representative from Sky Sports to take over!

del45 added 20:37 - Apr 9
HAve they forgot about the emergency services required ie standby ambulance, police etc even behind closed doors.

scooby added 21:10 - Apr 9
WHen is football and sport in general going to get real and realise that we won’t be able to safely play sport for months and months.the season may as well just get cancelled they will also be lucky to play half a season next season.In the bigger picture does it really matter

Lathers added 21:22 - Apr 9
Our season became null and void long before it could officially be termed null and void! In my near 40 years of supporting the Town I can’t believe I’m so disinterested in whether the season continues or not... that’s where the ‘Evans Years’ have taken the club unfortunately, and I bet I’m not alone. I love my football and I love my club but this break came at the right time for me. And away from football, wishing you all good health.

cooper4england added 21:36 - Apr 9
Cam down, calm down.

It's an aim. They are not saying " we're going ahead no matter what". If we follow the timeline of china (that's if they are not fibbing) the worse part could, and I emphasis could, be over by the end of May so the EFL should PLAN and make preparations to play mid June. Having footie to watch on telly will be a great relief. However, come mid May and the situation hasn't improved, of course the EFL will not go ahead.

TractorRoyNo1 added 22:32 - Apr 9
900 people per day are dead in the uk from Corona and football is only concerned with itself - ffs

TheBoyBlue added 23:49 - Apr 9
Some of the comments on here..

It is quite clear that this is an aim, not a demand. And frankly I would be extremely worried if those running a game that affects the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people didn't have some sort of plan in place.

Surely it would be preferable to finish the season, even if not ideal to finish it without fans? But who the hell is expecting ideal from this situation?

ThaiBlue added 08:15 - Apr 10
Absolute rubbish nobody nows whats going to happen next week let alone june.

Bluearmy_81 added 12:31 - Apr 10
Van DUSEN, MEs generosity?!! Ffs you only get such sickening fawning at Ipswich. He's killing the club, he's turned us into a joke, an embarassment, a laughing stock. Literally no where else would fans be thanking an owner for killing the club, its nauseating. You know no-one made him buy ITFC?!!!

VanDusen added 14:48 - Apr 10
Great BlueArmy - one man campaign of hate. Maybe he should up sticks and walk away right now as I'm sure club values must be rocketing at the moment?! And considering the 'so saintly' Liverpoo FC were happy to shaft their staff at 80% the fact he's making up the difference is laudable. The fact we've not accrued quite so much debt compared to Derby, Sheff Weds, Reading may be invaluable and keep us alfloat... Quite frankly I want a club to go back to next season. And for many I doubt that will be the case.

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