EFL Still Aiming to Play Remaining Fixtures
Friday, 1st May 2020 18:14
Chairman Rick Parry has written an open letter to clubs reiterating that the EFL remains determined to play the 2019/20 campaign to its conclusion and outlining progress towards this aim which has been made this week.
The EFL has previously said it is targeting playing the remaining 113 games in its three divisions over 56 days behind closed doors with June 6th having been pencilled in a for a start.
Players, who have been away from their clubs since fixtures were suspended on March 13th due to the coronavirus pandemic, are due to report back for the start of a mini-pre-season on May 16th.
“Whilst there is still no further clarity on a return of EFL matches, the objective remains to play the remaining fixtures for the 2019/20 campaign at the current 71 EFL grounds,” Parry wrote.
“It is important that any clubs notify the EFL of any issues that may prevent this as soon as possible.”
“Some progress has been made in respect of planning how matches may take place, with draft operational plans put before the board at this week's meeting and incorporating many areas such as: stadium preparation, medical provisions, staffing, media access and, of course, measures needed to ensure the safety of all participants including first-team players and staff, match officials, and everyone else associated with the matchday environment.”
Yesterday it emerged - via a leaked Whatsapp message from Bristol Rovers PFA rep Alex Rodman to his team-mates - that captains and PFA representatives from clubs in Leagues One and Two had been told that the season in those divisions being brought to a premature end was a very real possibility.
Amongst the issues are the cost and number of coronavirus tests - tens of thousands would be needed at £150 each - which would be required at a time when League One and Two clubs are short of cash and tests are in short supply for NHS employees and other key workers.
Parry says that discussions regarding testing are continuing: “Whatever the outcome, we are confident that, at this time, access will not be an issue and the acquisition of supplies will not be at the expense of the country's frontline staff. That simply is not an option for the EFL to consider.”
He added: “In other welcome news, the St John Ambulance service has indicated it would be in a position to work with club medical teams to provide medical cover on matchdays, therefore once again alleviating the concern of increased burden on clubs and frontline services, while the Sports Ground Safety Authority has confirmed that it will assist clubs and local authorities with guidance around the general requirements contained within the Safety Certificate that remain in place and how these may be managed for fixtures behind closed doors.”
The issue of players whose contracts or loans are up on June 30th - midway through the 56-day resumption - was also addressed by Parry.
“As communicated under separate cover from Debbie Birch this week, progress is also being made in respect of player contracts and registrations in place with clubs while, in addition, we await an update from the FA on its discussions with FIFA after submitting a request for an agreement to permit the transfer window to remain open from close of the 2019/20 season, for as long as possible as a ‘one-off’ solution.”
It’s reported that the EFL has proposed various options for clubs as they seek to address this issue - offer the player a new contract, extend their existing contract so it ends at the conclusion of the season or release them on June 30th.
If the latter is the case they would be able to join another club but not permitted to play until the start of 2020/21.
In addition, the EFL is proposing pushing back the date when out-of-contract players can be approached by other clubs from May 16th to June 23rd. In the case of players under the age of 24 clubs would have four days after the end of the season or June 23rd, whichever is earlier, to offer terms in line or better than their current deal.
Also on the table for out-of-contract players is the possibility of being offered week-to-week deals, while some EFL clubs want their existing deals be stretched to the new end of the season but with no additional wages paid, a position the EFL are not against while wanting further discussion.
As things stand the Blues have nine players out of contract, Cole Skuse, Andre Dozzell, Gwion Edwards, Will Keane, Jordan Roberts, Danny Rowe, Harry Wright, Armando Dobra and Brett McGavin, although the club has options to keep them for a further season.
As previously reported, Dobra has all but agreed a new three-year contract which will be signed when he returns to Portman Road, while it seems certain that Roberts will move on.
Loanees Luke Garbutt, Josh Earl and Will Norris's spells are also all up on June 30th. The EFL is set to continue its discussions next week.
The Premier League has released a statement following today’s meeting of its chief executives.
“The League and clubs are considering the first tentative moves forward and will only return to training and playing with Government guidance, under expert medical advice and after consultation with players and managers.
“The League welcomed the creation of the Government medical working group for a return of elite sport, which met for the first time this morning.
“No decisions were taken at today’s shareholders’ meeting and clubs exchanged views on the information provided regarding Project Restart. It was agreed that the PFA, LMA, players and managers are key to this process and will be further consulted.
“The clubs reconfirmed their commitment to finishing the 2019/20 season, maintaining integrity of the competition and welcomed the Government’s support.”
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|dirtydingusmagee added 18:38 - May 1|
its on ,its off,its on again ,its off again FFS SORT IT OUT .
|Bert added 18:42 - May 1|
So much for Daily Mail rumours but will believe this when it happens. In my opinion, even behind closed doors and with adequate safety measures in place, I would rather see the season completed and the new season commence in September with no league, FA or Checkatrade cup games scheduled. With season ticket and DD renewals now going out, the club must make it clear before May 7th what's its position will be if the new season commences without supporters. Would anyone buy a season ticket for services without knowing if they receive anything for it ? We know the club's intentions re refunds, vouchers etc for this season but they now need to be transparent about next season.
|runaround added 18:53 - May 1|
It just seems to be all about money. Fans, players, managers, club staff, medical staff etc the safety and health of them should be paramount but football making sure it’s backers don’t take their money back seems to be the main concern.
It’s blatantly obvious that football with fans is about 7 or 8 months away & football should be in front of fans not empty stadiums. I agree this season should not be voided and ideally played to a finish but not by putting lives at risk to satisfy Sky & betting firms.
|jas0999 added 19:19 - May 1|
Voiding the season would be a dreadful outcome and unfair. Playing the season out even behind closed doors must surely be the preference. Scraping the league cup and check a trade cup next season with a layer League start seems sensible as well.
|jonwillpott added 19:36 - May 1|
How much longer is the EFL going to mess around with something that is totally unethical and an insult to our fantastic health workers? Foot ball is a game played for the fans entertainment so if this cannot be done (and it can't!), it should be called off NOW! Get it sorted EFL or lose even more support from the fans!
|Dissblue added 19:38 - May 1|
As long as the budgies get relegated don't much care what else happens! Think there's little prospect of crowds at games this year.
|alfromcol added 20:30 - May 1|
So clubs with little money, and no interest in the outcome of the outstanding games will continue to pay players who are out of contract just to play in these meaningless games? I don't think so.
Pull the plug now and start planning for 2020/21
|runningout added 21:30 - May 1|
Cheeses me right off how football thinks it is the be all and end all. ITFC maybe ;-)
|masetheace added 22:30 - May 1|
Its likely that it will be January at the earliest that any normality is restored . Void this season and be prepared to play only one game against all opponents in 20/21 ,
|ArnieM added 22:31 - May 1|
I think basically they can’t make a decision. If I was a betting person, I’d be putting my house on it that this season will not be completed.
The Clubs at the top of pile want to be given promotion...the ones at the bottom, want the season voided....the ones in the middle, couldn’t give a flying one. And therein is the conundrum facing all governing bodies in football. Not an easy decision, when so much money and maybe even existence for some ( many?) Clubs is at stake.
I think they keep putting it back in the hope that sanctions will be lifted to some degree. But I think this event will come too late for this season.
|ArnieM added 22:37 - May 1|
On another issue , players being out of contract, and effectively out of work. Well hard though it may sound, “ tough sh it”. Guess what you professional footballers, You’re no different from the rest of the nation. The real difference is actually in your favour though because you’ve been paid mega bucks for some considerable time, and probably have a good cushion of finance behind to survive many maybe months , maybe even years, unlike the many millions of people in the Country now.
|whymarkshead added 02:54 - May 2|
Suspend rest of season 20-21. Start season 21-22 with fixtures closely following those not completed in season 20-21. Give the points won to both seasons points tables. By Christmas we would know who were champions of each league for 20-21and the supposed promotion and demotion candidates. However, actual promotion and demotion places for season 22-23 would be determined by clubs aggregate points over 2 seasons. A similar scheme could even work for European competitions if the same teams rolled over into season 21-22. Fairest way for all clubs to get a result out of both seasons. Everything to play for whether Liverpool at the summit to Stevenage at the bottom of League 2.
|bobble added 05:49 - May 2|
just have the goalies meet up for a one off arm wrestle to decide the remaining matches.
|StavangerBlue added 07:40 - May 2|
What are the legal consequences for team A infecting team B? What would happen if a player got sick and suffered damage to the lungs, was out for months or worse died from the virus due to these games?
The football league should cancel the season as it stands. While they are at it, they should relegate Ipswich to league two and save us all the pain and expense of watching another season in league one of heartless, uncommitted, unattractive football from a bunch of players that at most times don’t seem to care if we win or lose. I am tired of hearing about our wonderful talented footballers who from my POV have no desire to win games, no passion, no heart, no determination and just roll over. Oh what I would give for a Wark, Butcher etc on the pitch today! There is a reason they are legends at the club.
|DurhamTownFan added 07:57 - May 2|
A few weeks ago I thought we absolutely had to play and finish. Now, I just want it over. So much effort in making sure teams don’t carry and infect, police needed at games, behind closed doors... it all just seems like too much effort, especially for a team like us in mid table. I’d like a shirt play-off tournament, but then whoever goes down would complain bitterly.
So for me, now I just think press ‘restart‘ in August/September
|grumpyoldman added 08:04 - May 2|
So what happens if a few players from any team ends up with Covid19 and they have played two games after that possibly infecting others? Do we then stop the league again? At that rate we could still trying to finish this season for quite awhile. Finish it now, start football again when it is safe to do so. Life is more important than anything, people should stop and think about their priorities. Think about if we had an individual minutes silence for every individual victim of this virus how long you would be standing there. To me that puts the whole thing into perspective.
|Saxonblue74 added 08:35 - May 2|
Forget it, this is NOT a priority. The most annoying aspect of all of this is players bleating about their contracts. Forget it!! If you wanted to be at the club you would have agreed terms months ago. Instead, you and your parasitic agents hang on to the bitter end to see if you can bleed a few extra quid out of the club and if not, find someone else who will meet your demands. If you're "unemployed" for a few weeks then so be it. There's always food banks, but something tells me it won't get to that point!
|Saxonblue74 added 08:38 - May 2|
........and tests? Thousands of them going to footballers and backroom staff to get the ball rolling(!) ? Better used elsewhere until such time they don't need to be prioritised surely?
|Radlett_blue added 10:20 - May 2|
It's about money for the Premier League, but not for the Football League as clubs will lose money given the cost of playing games behind closed doors.
|Linkboy13 added 10:30 - May 2|
The nation's health is more important than peoples lust for football simple.
|Skip73 added 10:31 - May 2|
When football finally returns everybody should boycott the Premier League. Their behavour and attitude throughout this crisis has been disgraceful, the same goes for thise Sky Sports parasites. ££££
|grumpyoldman added 11:02 - May 2|
Skip73 we have been boycotting it for years. But agree with your sentiments, money grabbing is all they are interested in, a league where only a small number have a realistic chance of winning is not a sportIng challenge.
|Dissboyitfc added 11:16 - May 2|
What a mess!
The answers is out there, but only smarties have the answer!
Look football is coming back at some point and when it does, finish whats been started! And customise next season to accomodate the finish of this season! At least clubs would know where they stand at the start of next season if things are altered and that would be fair, not finishing this season is not fair and not right on so many levels!
I would still be in favour of this season being finished even if its next january when it resumes.
It has to be finished but only when its safe to do so, AND NOT BEFORE!
|grumpyoldman added 12:30 - May 2|
Why does it have to finish? In a hundred years time when we are no longer around moaning about ME or MM this messed up season will be a reminder to our descendants that we realised that was more important things to worry about. In 1939 the season started but stopped when WW2 started did people sit around deciding how they could complete the season, no they dealt with more important things then started again when it was safe.
|TractorRoyNo1 added 13:15 - May 2|
Hey why expect the EFL to have a plan, the government hasn't got one yet, football without fans is crap, ffs just draw a line and plan to start a new season from jan 1st.
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