Thursday, October 22, 2020

COVID-19: EFL season can be completed in ’56 days’

EFL clubs have been told that, once the pandemic is over and it is safe to resume play, they will be able to finish the season in just 56 days.

That does come with one caveat though, the games would likely have to be played behind closed doors.

BBC Sport have reported that a letter sent to all 72 EFL clubs from chairman Rick Parry has instructed them not to resume training until at least May 16.

The EFL, as with the Premier League and other leagues, hopes the season can be finished in the summer but have no timescale as to when it will begin again yet.

The 56 days figure is obtainable by each club within the EFL playing twice per week, immediately followed by the play offs at the end of the season.

Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff, when speaking to BBC Radio, said that he thinks it will be ‘less than that [56 days]’ and that ‘football comes second’ at the moment.

“I think it’ll be less than that because I think two weeks of that will be for the play-offs, so you could be trying to play 10 games in more like 42 days, because the 56 days are including play-offs,” said Duff.

“But it is what it is. Football comes second at the minute. We’ll do whatever we can.

“The most important thing is that we get over what’s happening as a country, and then the second thing is that we get the season finished and we still have football clubs and people still have jobs.”

The majority of EFL clubs have nine games left to play in the season while some have 10, meaning there would be a lot of football to be played in a small period of time.

The other question we have here is what it will mean for next season. Likely, the 2020/21 season will have to be delayed.

The letter BBC Sport reported Rick Parry sent to the EFL Clubs also mentioned the potential implications of all of this with regards to next 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,” the letter read.

“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.

“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.”

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