- Quote: ‘Strong desire to remain as faithful as possible to the regulations and ensure consistency in the approach adopted in all divisions’ – EFL chairman, Rick Parry
By Andrew Atkinson
The English Football League (EFL) has recommended that promotion and relegation should take place – in the Championship, League 1 and League 2 – regardless of whether clubs vote, or have voted, to curtail the campaign.
Championship clubs return to training on May 25. The EFL proposal has to be endorsed by the clubs.
League 2 clubs have agreed to end the 2019-20 season; League 1 counterparts are to decide whether to continue.
Championship clubs, with the exception of Hull City, are giving the green light to restart fixtures.
The majority of clubs have returned to training, with a provisional games’ resumption in the third week of June.
The EFL said 51% of clubs in League One or the Championship would need to agree to any curtailment of their campaigns.
The final table would be decided by an unweighted points-per-game system – and play-offs – involving no more than four teams, should take place.
The EFL blueprint challenges the declared preference of League 2 clubs, that Stevenage be spared relegation to the National League, confirming Swindon Town, Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle look set for automatic promotion to League 1.
“There is a strong desire to remain as faithful as possible to the regulations and ensure consistency in the approach adopted in all divisions,” said the EFL chairman, Rick Parry.
If the continuation of the League 1 season commences, twice-weekly coronavirus testing will have to be undertaken – mandatory – under the EFL’s return-to-play protocols.
Sunderland have asked the Professional Footballers’ Association to help shoulder the £150-per-test cost.
Championship clubs are undergoing initial mandatory tests at their training grounds, with the option of saving approximately £1,300 a week, by asking players to conduct subsequent swab tests at home, or enlisting backroom staff, to conduct prior to training sessions.
Under both methods samples would be collected by Couriers. Middlesbrough are understood to be amongst clubs adopting the self-testing system – but two-thirds of the division have decided to pay a premium for independent testers.