Exclusive: EFL unveil radical plans to finish 2019/20 season in just 56 days - with Portsmouth set to go behind closed doors

The EFL have told clubs that the 2019/20 season could be completed in just 56 days – with games set to go behind closed doors.

Thursday, 9th April 2020, 11:56 am
Exclusive: EFL unveil radical plans to finish 2019/20 season in just 56 days - with Portsmouth set to go behind closed doors

In a letter to all clubs currently playing in League One, which has been seen by the News, EFL chairman Rick Parry has revealed his plan to finish the season in just 56 days with fixtures set to be played behind closed doors.

That timeframe – which equates to just eight weeks – would see all remaining League One fixtures, plus the play-offs, completed.

Portsmouth currently have nine games remaining in their league campaign and, were they to reach the play-off final, would be expected to play 11 games in eight weeks under these proposals.

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The EFL have also told all clubs NOT to return to training until May 16 at the earliest – but have pledged to give sides adequate time to prepare for the resumption of the campaign.

In the letter, Parry writes: “We currently estimate that the League will require approximately 56 days to complete the outstanding matches in the season (including Play-Offs) and 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 postponement in place.

“The EFL Board is currently working on the basis that 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.”

“Clubs should be advised not to recommence any training activity with players until 16 May at the earliest,” he continued.

“How and when we return (including training) is clearly subject to change and any decisions will be taken in conjunction with the Government and relevant health authorities.”