Coronavirus: EFL 'needs 56 days' to complete season
"It is our working assumption at this stage that matches will be played behind closed doors when we eventually return"
Last Updated: 09/04/20 5:44pm
The English Football League estimates it will need 56 days to complete the 2019-20 season and has advised clubs that matches are likely to resume behind closed doors.
The EFL, which oversees the Championship, League One and League Two, wrote to its 71 clubs on Thursday with an update amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
With all professional football in England suspended indefinitely, the EFL advised that training should not resume until May 16 "at the earliest", but stressed that further pushbacks were possible depending on government guidelines.
"Whenever the decision is taken that is safe to resume, we currently estimate that the League will require approximately 56 days to complete the outstanding matches in the season (including play-offs)," the EFL wrote to its members.
"We are committed to ensuring that clubs are provided an appropriate notice period to ensure you are able to prepare operationally given the scale and impact of the postponements in place."
The EFL reiterated its desire to finish the season, with a full schedule of play-off fixtures, but confirmed it is their "working assumption" that matches will resume without spectators.
"We are in a position whereby the 2019-20 campaign will be extended, but still remain hopeful of a conclusion in the summer months," the letter continued.
"The EFL Board is currently working on the basis that the end-of-season play-offs will take place across all three divisions as normal with two-legged semi-finals and a final, although no decision has been taken on the likely venue as it will depend on the circumstances at play at the time.
"It is our working assumption at this stage that matches will be played behind closed doors when we eventually return and as part of our contingency planning we are absolutely mindful of the need to try and mitigate the cost of this to clubs as best we can."