The English Football League has decided on a provisional restart date for the EFL Championship season.
England’s second-tier has decided on June 20th as the restart date to the current season, with July 30th as the approximate date for the Playoff Final at Wembley Stadium. In addition, remaining league matches will occur at grounds with no fans in attendance, similar to the English Premier League.
Discussions were also made about expanding the amount of substitutions from three to five in each game for the remainder of the season, but nothing official has been determined.
“With Sky Bet Championship Clubs set to return to full contact training later this week and following Saturday’s Government announcement, we are edging closer towards resuming the 2019/20 EFL season,” EFL Chair Rick Parry said. “We have therefore today consulted with the Board’s Championship Directors and agreed to fixtures restarting behind closed doors on 20 June.”
“We must stress that at this stage the date is only provisional and will only be confirmed once we have met all the requirements, as the health, safety and well-being of all participants, staff and supporters remains our top priority.”
“Clearly completing the season in a safe manner is going to require a significant effort by all concerned and, whilst not unprecedented, it will need Clubs to play a significant number of matches over a relatively short period of time.”
The latest news from the EFL comes two days after recent testing was completed for all 24 Championship sides for COVID-19. 10 positive tests were confirmed out of 1,058 total carried out last week.
The Championship is currently 37 matches into its 46-game season with Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion currently holding onto the two automatic promotion places. Fulham, Brentford, Nottingham Forest, and Preston North End are in the four playoff places, but six points separate Preston North End from 13th placed Queens Park Rangers.
Championship clubs have yet to return to training and are waiting to be advised of the safety protocols involving testing, training and the staging of fixtures before launching full-scale preparations to return to action next month, according to the report.
Out of six American players who have played consistent minutes this EFL Championship season, only one is currently in the top six. Tim Ream’s Fulham were relegated from the EPL in 2019, but seek an immediate bounce back to the top-flight.
Duane Holmes and Derby County are 12th in the league table, five points from the final playoff spot. Geoff Cameron and QPR are a place behind them in 13th, while Matt Miazga and Reading are in 14th on 48 points.
At the opposite end of the table, Tottenham loanee Cameron Carter-Vickers and Luton Town are six points clear of safety in 23rd place. Eric Lichaj and Hull City are in 21st place, two points clear of the bottom three, while Antonee Robinson and Wigan Athletic are in 20th place due to goal difference.
In addition, both League One and League Two are considering moving right into the playoff stages rather than finishing the current seasons. However, it is undetermined how relegation would be completed, due to the heavy financial burden it places on teams that do drop from their current division.