EFL details plans for football
EFL details plans for football

The EFL released this statement following its meeting on Wednesday:

‎”After receiving a detailed brief on a number of matters, the Board reaffirmed that the health and well-being of EFL staff, players, club employees and supporters would remain central to all decisions in these fast-changing circumstances. 

The EFL Board also acknowledges the positive role that member clubs are playing in community solidarity, especially in supporting the vulnerable at this time. 

2019/20 SEASON SCHEDULE

The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season, subject to the over-riding priority around health and well-being. Plans continue to be developed on the agreed principle that it is in the best interests of the EFL and clubs to complete the current season at the appropriate time. 

The EFL is continuing regular dialogue with the Government and relevant health authorities and, as and when more information is known regarding the scale and extent of the coronavirus outbreak in this country, a decision will be taken on the resumption of the League’s fixtures. 

Conversations will continue with the EFL’s counterparts at the FA, the Premier League, the PFA and the LMA to ensure football achieves a joined-up and collaborative approach.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

As part of the League’s continued contingency planning, the Board heard the comments and observations from EFL clubs, before discussing a number of issues including the current financial position and implications, insurance, regulatory matters and broadcasting arrangements.  

Discussions centred on financial relief for clubs in the short term and while there is no one single solution, measures are to be put in place to immediately assist with cash flow via a £50million short-term relief package. 

This fund consists of the remaining Basic Award payments being advanced to clubs immediately, with the remainder made up through interest-free loan facility available to clubs, calculated in line with the EFL’s Article of Associations. 

The cash injection is included as part of a series of measures, that includes potential Government support to help clubs and their associated businesses through this period of uncertainty. The EFL welcomes last night’s announcement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and is continuing discussions to understand how our clubs can access the funding made available to support businesses.

In addition, we will continue our discussions with our football partners to determine how we can all get through this difficult, challenging and unprecedented situation.

CONTINGENCY PLANNING

The EFL, through a dedicated taskforce, continues to review the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and its impact on our clubs and competitions. 

Alongside ensuring the 2019/20 season reaches a successful conclusion, protecting the EFL and its clubs is a key priority for the EFL Board, who have today agreed on the following objectives to support future decision-making:

• Ensure the health and well-being of our clubs’ employees, supporters and communities

• Make a positive contribution to the UK’s efforts to tackle coronavirus

• Protect the EFL’s financial model and club finances

• Enable the EFL to continue to function as a business

• Deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season”

So it seems both the club’s and the EFL want to complete the season. That may be difficult. If a player goes down with the virus, the whole squad – plus the squad of the opposing team in their last fixture – will have to self isolate for 14 days.

It is not yet clear when games can be staged again, but it seems unlikely to be before June at the earliest.

Various scenarios are being bandied about – playing behind closed doors is one option, playing the games at a neutral‎ venue, again with no spectators present, is another. Neither option is entirely satisfactory.

One thing does seem certain. The 2020/2021 season will, at the very least, be delayed.

Another twist to the wrangle over the ownership of Charlton has arisen. A group – possibly the ex-directors who loaned the club money – are thought to be challenging the legality of the sale to ESI.

Nothing is ever easy at Charlton. At the moment we do not know who owns the club or when they will play again!


 
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