Hull City are the first Championship club to demand the season be voided and have set out their reasoning in a letter emailed to Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, before the league’s weekly board meeting on Wednesday.
This detailing of Hull’s “serious concerns” about football’s proposed resumption next month – first reported by the Telegraph – has been copied to the relegation-threatened club’s 23 second-tier rivals.
Ehab Allam, Hull’s vice-chairman, says that although his club will lose around £1.2m if they fail to complete the season, he is deeply concerned about potential legal actions should a player, or member of their families, become infected with Covid-19.
Allam said he felt the EFL had placed “undue and inappropriate” pressure on clubs to return to action next month. He also revealed he is not happy to vote in favour of extending soon-to-expire player contracts beyond 30 June.
Although it is thought as many as three other clubs expressed similar reservations during a Championship conference call last week, Hull are the first to have made their position plain.
Grant McCann’s side stood 21st in the table when the season was suspended and are without a League win since New Year’s Day. They sold their two best players, Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki, to West Ham and West Brom respectively in January.
It is understood the majority of second-tier clubs are keen to finish the season, with the top two, Leeds United and West Brom, particularly enthusiastic. The division has a pencilled-in roadmap to a return which would involve clubs being back in training on Monday and the season potentially resuming on 19 June.
In his letter Allam wrote: “I do not presently believe that the 2019-20 season can be safely completed without unnecessarily exposing Championship clubs to potential legal action in the event that one or more of its employees [or their family members] were to become infected with Covid-19.
“I am against the 2019-20 season being completed under the present circumstances and in light of the wider public-health issues facing the United Kingdom at the present time.
“My position remains that the season should be voided with this means of drawing a conclusion to the 2019-20 season [including how the important questions of promotion and relegation would then be addressed] being put to a formal vote.”
Allam added that the prevalence of coronavirus infections in Yorkshire and the north-east is the highest in England. However, Yorkshire and the north-east comprise a large region and latest virus data shows the city of Hull itself has only the 165th-highest infection rate in the country.
In a club statement, Hull expressed disappointment that a private letter had been leaked. It said the club respected the differing viewpoints of several Championship rivals but added: “Our primary concern throughout this difficult time has been for the health and safety of our players and staff and that will continue to be the case.”