- EFL confirms plan to restart three days after Premier League
- Games behind closed doors with broadcast plans still unclear
The EFL has announced the Championship season is set to resume on 20 June and will end “on or around 30 July” with the play-off final.
“Following Saturday’s announcement by the Government to allow elite sporting events to return behind closed doors, the EFL has this weekend agreed to a provisional restart date of the weekend of 20 June 2020 for matches in the Sky Bet Championship,” an official statement said.
“The date is subject to the strict proviso that all safety requirements and government guidance is met, and that clubs receive clearance from their local authorities in order to stage matches at their home grounds.” The statement added that the league is adopting “a similar timeline to that of the Premier League, to avoid any potential issues with promoted and relegated clubs”.
The Premier League announced on Thursday that play is due to return with two matches on 17 June, which are games in hand for the four clubs involved, with the first complete round of matches to take place on the weekend of 20-21 June.
The EFL added that teams may be allowed to use five substitutes and increase their match-day squads from 18 to 20 players. Talks are also continuing with Sky Sports about broadcast selection, after which the full fixture list will be agreed.
“With Championship clubs set to return to full contact training later this week and following Saturday’s government announcement, we are edging closer towards resuming the 2019-20 EFL season,” Rick Parry, the EFL chief executive said.
“We have therefore today consulted with the board’s Championship directors and agreed to fixtures restarting behind closed doors on 20 June,” Parry added. “While matches will unfortunately have to take place without supporters, we are working with our broadcast partners, Championship clubs and all relevant stakeholders to broadcast the remaining 108 games as well as the play-offs.”
Parry said matches would be shown on Sky Sports, iFollow or clubs’ own streaming services, with no mention of free-to-air games. “We must stress that at this stage the date is only provisional and will only be confirmed once we have met all the requirements, as the health, safety and well-being of all participants, staff and supporters remains our top priority,” Parry added.
“Clearly completing the season in a safe manner is going to require a significant effort by all concerned and … will need clubs to play a significant number of matches over a relatively short period of time.”
With the Championship set to play on, and League Two clubs having already voted to end their season, attention will now turn to League One. Clubs in England’s third tier remain divided over whether to complete the season, with a series of votes expected this week after a crucial meeting on Monday.