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EFL announce plans to complete season over 56-day period

:Headline: EFL announce plans to complete season over 56-day period:
Clubs have been advised not to resume training activity until May 16 at the earliest.

The English Football League has laid out tentative plans to complete the 2019-20 season over a period of approximately 56 days over the summer, including the play-offs.

A letter from EFL chairman Rick Parry to its member clubs advises them to prepare for a return to training activity no earlier than May 16 as the country remains on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Parry said the “working assumption” was that the remaining matches in the 2019-20 season would be played behind closed doors. The loss of matchday revenue has hit EFL clubs hard, and last week the Premier League advanced funds totalling £125million to the EFL and the National League to help clubs in financial trouble.

The EFL season could be finished inside two months (Bradley Collyer/PA)

However, the EFL said in its letter that it would hold the money back for now, pending the outcome of separate talks between clubs and the Professional Footballers’ Association concerning player wage deferrals and cuts.

Parry wrote: “Clubs should be advised not to recommence any training activity with players until May 16 at the earliest.

“Whenever the decision is taken that is safe to resume, we currently estimate that the league will require approximately 56 days to complete the outstanding matches in the season (including play-offs) and 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.

“Whenever the decision is taken that is safe to resume, we currently estimate that the league will require approximately 56 days to complete the outstanding matches in the season.”
- Rick Parry, EFL chairman

“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. Clearly, we are in a position whereby the 2019-20 campaign will be extended, but still remain hopeful of a conclusion in the summer months.”

Parry said the reason for holding back the cash advance from the Premier League – which between the EFL and the National League came to a total of £125million – was to await the outcome of negotiations over player wage deferrals and cuts, with the money from the Premier League intended to cover 2020-21 costs.

“In respect of the Premier League’s decision to advance £125m of funds to both the EFL and the National League, the EFL Board 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.

Micky Mellon welcomed news of the plans (PA)

“Achieving a solution for April payroll has to be the priority at present though, understandably, our aim is to provide clubs clarity for planning purposes beyond this as quickly as possible.”

Tranmere boss Micky Mellon welcomed the plans but questioned how clubs will continue to run if they play behind closed doors.

The Premier League has offered the EFL and National League a £125million advance on their solidarity payments but the EFL said it would hold the money back for now, pending the outcome of separate talks between clubs and the Professional Footballers’ Association concerning player wage deferrals and cuts.

Mellon told the PA news agency: “It’s good to see some kind of plan, I understand how difficult it must be – even the government isn’t giving any dates.

The Premier League has offered the EFL and National League a £125million advance on their solidarity payments (PA)

“But where are the finances coming from to pay the wages when there are no crowds? If we’re talking about playing in July and August behind closed doors, where are clubs like Tranmere going to magic up this money?

“Clubs rely on that money (the Premier League solidarity payments) to get them through the season. All they’ve done is brought it forward. When this season finishes there’s another one.

“There is a lot of work to be done on it but we all have willing, if the opportunity comes up to finish the league that is what we want to do.

“But everyone in football will say the same and that is there are more important things at the minute and that’s to sort out this virus.”

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool29271166214582
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
4Chelsea29146951391248
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
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9Arsenal2891364036440
10Burnley29116123440-639
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
12Everton29107123746-937
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
14Southampton29104153552-1734
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
17Watford2969142744-1727
18Bournemouth2976162947-1827
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool29271166214582
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
4Chelsea29146951391248
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
9Arsenal2891364036440
10Burnley29116123440-639
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
12Everton29107123746-937
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
14Southampton29104153552-1734
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
17Watford2969142744-1727
18Bournemouth2976162947-1827
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721
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