Football can resume in June, though the EFL will be late for the restart
Thursday, 14th May 2020 21:18 by Tim Whelan
The good news is that the government are on the verge giving football the green light to resume in June. But the bad news is that the EFL have put the start of training back for another nine days.
The Culture secretary Oliver Dowden met the Football Association today and described the meeting as positive. And he also gave us the important announcement "The government is opening the door for competitive football to return safely in June”, although further meetings will still have to take place to sort out the details.
"We all agreed that we will only go ahead if it is safe to do so and the health and welfare of players, coaches and staff comes first. The Government and our medical experts will continue to offer guidance and support to the game ahead of any final decision which would put these plans into action."
And the deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, sounded a bit more cautious at the government’s daily press briefing. He said: “The overall approach with easing social distancing has been one that has been tentative, measured, slow and stepwise, and that is exactly the plan that is under way for all of elite sport – not just football.”
“There will be small, carefully measured, stepwise approaches to seeing what can be achieved safely. The first of those is, really, is to return to safe training, still observing social distancing. We will have to see how that goes before it is time to move on or even think about moving on to the return of competitive football matches.”
Discussions are also continuing between the Premier League and its clubs, and they are also consulting the players, some of whom are more reluctant to resume than the owners and managers of their clubs. Meanwhile the EFL board also met today and Championship clubs held their own discussions.
Phil Hay has announced on Twitter that the EFL has delayed the date for clubs to return to training from the previously announced date of May 16 until May 25 at the earliest. So it doesn’t look likely that matches will resume until the second week of June at least, giving a short timeframe to fit the remaining nine games in when they have already set a deadline of July 31st for the season to be completed.
Which must leave us with a few doubts that our season will ever be finished, and in that event we would just have to hope that at the Premier League would complete their fixtures, so that relegation can happen and we can be promoted on a points per game basis. And the latest from the Premier clubs desperate to avoid relegation is that we shouldn’t be promoted if we haven’t played all the games.
First Norwich came out with that argument and now Brighton striker Glenn Murray has jumped on the bandwagon, with his comments implying that the rest of his club agree with him. He told Sky Sports’ Football Show “Our standpoint is that if the games get played the worst three teams get relegated and that’s plain and simple, and hopefully it will be in this case. If we manage to play our games then the bottom three deserve to go down.”
“If the Championship doesn’t finish its games they don’t deserve to be promoted. If the Championship finishes, great, we’ll swap places. But if the Premier League finishes and we get relegated without them kicking a ball I can’t see that’s fair.” Which is contradicting himself, as if the bottom three deserve to go down then three clubs have to come up to replace them, and it shouldn’t make any difference to them who it is or how they got there.
As one Leeds fan said on Twitter, Murray should keep his nose out of something that's nothing to do with him. Hopefully no one in authority will take any notice of the ramblings of clubs who are getting ever more desperate in their search for ways to get out of relegation. As for when our season will resume, we’ll just have to watch this space.
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