Leaked letter gives hope Leeds can get promotion done
Thursday, 9th Apr 2020 21:26 by Tim Whelan
Yesterday the Football League wrote to all 71 member clubs to outline their plans for completing the season, and the details have been picked up by the Daily Telegraph. They hope to be able to restart the season in mid-June and have it completed by the end of August.
The letter comes from EFL chairman Rick Parry and says “The EFL Board have determined that, to provide a level of certainty, clubs should be advised not to recommence any training activity with players until 16 May 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.”
“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.”
“The EFL Board is currently working on the basis that the end-of-season play-offs will take place across all three divisions as normal with two-legged semi-finals and a final, although no decision has been taken on the likely venue as it will depend on the circumstances at play at the time.” In other words, they still hope to be able to stage the finals at Wembley, but this cannot be guaranteed.
It’s quite possible that the games will need to be played behind closed doors, at least to start with, and the letter says “It is our working assumption at this stage. We are absolutely mindful of the need to try and mitigate the cost of this to clubs as best as we can.” It will of course depend at what point the government are able to relax the lockdown regulations to the extent that large scale gatherings will be permitted.
The League have also suggested that clubs should ask their players to take their main holiday between now and mid-May, as there won’t be much time between the end of this extended season and the time they need to start 2020/21. That won’t be popular with the players, who won’t of course be able to go away anywhere, but in practical terms there will be little alternative.
There is also the question of what happens with the next transfer window and the contracts of players whose current deals are due to expire on June 30th, but the League have promised a further communication will on this subject very shortly.
It’s likely that Leeds will start the remainder of the season with the fittest squad in the Championship, as the club had the foresight to order gym equipment and exercise bikes to be sent to the homes of all the playing staff before the lockdown came into effect. And they have been issued with a six day a week training routine, though this has been varied for the players who are still recovering from injury.
Patrick Bamford to the Yorkshire Post that the plan specifies two sessions daily, except for a rest day on Sunday. “All of the players who aren’t carrying little niggles, are getting sent a programme which alters day to day but it generally has one bit or running and one bit of gym. Sometimes the gym can be short movement patterns outside and some days we have the exercise bikes rather than running”.
That might now be scaled down until mid-May, but should at least give us the reassurance we need that the players will be able to get the points we need once our promotion campaign is finally ready to resume.
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