English football chiefs are planning to complete the season — with an incredible 433 games in just 56 days. Premier League clubs are now scheduling to restart behind closed doors in June. While EFL chairman Rick Parry has written to all 71 Champonship, League One and League Two teams, outlining his seven-point masterplan for an August finish.
It would mean a total of 433 matches being played in less than two months — providing the Government give it the green light in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. Parry’s letter advised EFL clubs to give their players a complete break now, to offset what would be a shorter time off between the end of this term and the start of the next. It also recommended a return to training on May 16 — with games starting in June in empty stadiums. The letter stated: “Whenever the decision is taken that it is safe to resume, we estimate the League will require approximately 56 days to complete the outstanding matches in the season (including play-offs).” Premier League clubs are mirroring Parry’s Save Our Season blueprint, with the first top-flight games earmarked for Saturday June 13. Prem clubs are looking at ways to get players back into their training grounds in a safe manner when lockdown rules are relaxed.
Parry’s letter added: “It is our assumption 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. “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.” However, in a blow to many cash-strapped clubs, the letter also reveals that a £125million ($A250 million) advance from the Premier League to the EFL and National League will not be distributed “while additional clarity is sought on other financial matters, particularly in respect to player wages”. The EFL season was suspended indefinitely, with the last handful of games taking place in League One and League Two on March 10.
Several sides have already put players and staff on furlough. Premier League chief Richard Masters and all the clubs are united in their desire to have the remaining games played. A source close to one player told SunSport: “The players are being told that mid-June is the time to expect football to kick off again. “And to aim for training to start again in the middle of May — that should give enough time.” This article first appeared inThe Sun and was reproduced with permission.