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Doubts persist over EFL season...
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Doubts persist over EFL season, clubs won't resume training until May 25

There are fresh doubts over whether the English Football League (EFL) season can be completed safely.

All three divisions below the Premier League have been suspended since March 13 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EFL Board met on Wednesday to discuss how best to see out the 2019-20 season, and the financial and operational effects of the pandemic.

The board have informed clubs that until "a comprehensive testing programme on matchdays and non-matchdays" is implemented, then no training should take place until May 25 at the earliest.

It's believed clubs in League One and League Two are growing impatient with the lack of progress on how best to end the season.

There remain between nine and eleven rounds of matches in the regular EFL seasons before the playoffs are considered.

Promotion to the Premier League must also be considered, and if the Championship is not completed that could open up a legal minefield.

Earlier in the day, Norwich sporting director Stuart Webber warned that they would only accept relegation if both the Premier League and Championships reached their natural conclusions.

Perhaps of more pressing concern to the clubs is the financial black hole they face without matches being played.

The EFL warn that "The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be rectified simply by a return to play behind closed doors."

EFL statement:

The EFL Board has met today to further consider the many complex financial and operational matters resulting out of the COVID-19 crisis, including how the 2019/20 campaign is concluded.

While there is much debate and discussion taking place publicly and privately regarding what should, or could, happen next, the EFL will continue to undertake consultation with our members before the next steps are determined.  

Current attention is clearly on the immediate next steps, but the long-term impact on the League and its Clubs remains as stark as previously outlined, and solutions are still required to fill the financial hole left by the crisis. The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will not be rectified simply by a return to play behind closed doors. 

In addition, the EFL is mindful of the pressing need for clarity in a number of areas, including the practicalities and timeframes of Clubs being able to facilitate a return to training. To address this, Clubs have today been issued with the latest draft of the EFL’s ‘Return to Training Protocols’, so that they can prepare appropriately. 

However, until all outstanding matters are concluded, including finalising a comprehensive testing programme on matchdays and non-matchdays, the EFL Board has informed its Clubs that a return to training should not take place until 25 May at the earliest.

Dialogue continues with our colleagues across the footballing and political landscape regarding these and other issues, and the EFL is committed to keeping all relevant parties updated on key decisions and developments as they occur.

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