Meeting on Friday to clarify future of Leagues One and Two

          Championship targets June return

          2020/05/14 10:56
          By Stephen Gillett

          Championship clubs are gearing up for a return to action in early to mid June after a conference call between all 24 clubs yesterday.

          The English second tier hopes to gain government clearance for a 25 May return to regular training with an actual return to competitive action pencilled in for 13 June, if not before. 

          League One and Two clubs, meanwhile,  will discuss the touted end of their respective seasons on Friday - with neither league expected to continue its current campaign.  

          The plans for the Championship season to continue, in many ways, hinge upon the Premier League's clearly stated intention to play the 2019/20 campaign to a conclusion. If the top flight does so, the onus is on the second tier to also continue - to avoid potential legal mayhem regarding promotion and relegation. 

          EFL protocol

          The EFL have drafted guidelines for clubs to return to training safely - based on the government's own Covid-19 recommendations. 

          These suggestions are reportedly very similar to those of the Premier League and, among other things, they recommend disinfecting football equipment, closing communal areas like gyms and changing rooms, and ruling out tackling or contact during sessions.

          Tactical sessions and session planning are recommended to be done remotely and training will be staggered in smaller groups.

          Expected shortfall

          An EFL statement released on Wednesday regarding the ongoing challenges posed by the Covid-19 outbreak.

          "The EFL will continue to undertake consultation with our members before the next steps are determined," it read.

          "Current attention is clearly on the immediate next steps, but the long-term impact on the league and its clubs remains as stark as previously outlined, and solutions are still required to fill the financial hole left by the crisis. The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic will not be rectified simply by a return to play behind closed doors.

          "In addition, the EFL is mindful of the pressing need for clarity in a number of areas, including the practicalities and timeframes of clubs being able to facilitate a return to training. To address this, clubs have today been issued with the latest draft of the EFL's 'return to training protocols', so that they can prepare appropriately.

          "However, until all outstanding matters are concluded, including finalising a comprehensive testing programme on matchdays and non-matchdays, the EFL board has informed its clubs that a return to training should not take place until 25 May at the earliest."


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