The English Football League is expected to get fresh guidance from its clubs this week, with League One and Two increasingly unlikely to resume because of the prohibitive cost of playing matches behind closed doors. Clubs will convene via conference call on Friday following an EFL board meeting on Wednesday, when discussions are set to centre on determining finales to the interrupted season.
Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, will listen to clubs’ concerns on Friday, with many teams expected to admit defeat in trying to resume. A hard vote is not expected this week but clubs are resigned to the season not being completed.
The required level of player testing to finish the season is estimated to be at least £2m per division. A League One manager said the league now needs to find “the best worst-way” to finish the season and accepted there is scope for things to become “fairly litigious”, while a Championship source suggested some second-tier clubs have reservations about continuing the regular season.
Some League One clubs have discussed not playing until crowds are allowed to return, but there is an acceptance that the EFL needs to be aligned with the Premier League to prevent the pyramid becoming disjointed. Last month Colchester of League Two released four players owing to the financial impact of coronavirus and last week Parry admitted there is “uncertainty around next season and the undetermined matter of when we’ll be able to return with crowds, which for the EFL is absolutely critical”.
The EFL remains determined to finish the Championship season and clubs plan to resume with home and away matches behind closed doors, but the league is awaiting guidance from the government’s medical-expert working group to determine when a return could be viable. Clubs had hoped to return to formal training on Saturday, on the basis of the league resuming in mid-June.