EFL hopes to finish season in summer and tells clubs it will take 56 days
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The English Football League has estimated that 56 days will be needed to complete the season in a letter sent to clubs.
It also told clubs that they should not return to training before May 16 and are hopeful of a conclusion to the season “in the summer months”, which would include the play-offs.
But the assumption is that games are likely to be played behind closed doors when the leagues do return to action.
Additionally, the EFL Board has taken the decision to hold off on forwarding the £125 million worth of funds advanced by the Premier League to the EFL and National League “while additional clarity is sought on other financial matters”.
The season was suspended indefinitely last Friday by the EFL because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, pushing back the previous April 30 date.
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“I know this has been said but I do believe it’s important to reiterate that our primary objective remains to conclude the 2019/20 season when it is safe to resume playing,” the EFL’s chair Rick Parry wrote.
“Clubs should be advised not to recommence any training activity with players until May 16 at the earliest.
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“Whenever the decision is taken that it is safe to resume, we currently estimate that the League will require approximately 56 days to complete the outstanding matches in the season.
“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.”
The EFL also says clubs should instruct players to take time off if they have not already, while discussions over cuts to player pay are continuing.
The letter goes on yo say: “...it is the view of the EFL board that clubs should consider their obligations to players in respect of annual leave and suggest those not currently furloughed be instructed to take time off.
“In respect of the Premier League’s decision to advance £125m of funds to both the EFL and National League, the EFL 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.
“In addition, the formal discussions with the PFA are set to continue tomorrow and I plan to to have further conversations with the PFA’s chair Gordon Taylor ahead of tomorrow’s club meetings in order to ensure I am able to appraise everyone of the latest position at this time.”
The letter also suggested that the start of next season could be impacted by the delays to this season.
“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,” it added.
“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.”