Crisis-hit clubs ditch plans to resume season in six weeks

Crisis-hit League Two clubs have effectively ditched plans to resume the season in six weeks' time.

EFL chief Rick Parry had hoped for clubs to return to training on May 16, with the season resuming three weeks later on June 6.

But in a conference call involving all 24 chief executives from League Two, they expressed their view that the planned resumption date for the season is premature.

While there is a willingness and determination from League Two clubs to finish the season, there is huge concern about returning to action before it is safe to do so.

The belief is that clubs cannot consider a proposed date for a return to training and the resumption of games while the Government's lockdown measures and social distancing remain in place.

It is understood only one club in League One wants the season to end now, given their perilous position in the table, with the majority in favour of playing to a conclusion for the integrity of the competition.

The collective view from League Two clubs is that the earliest the season can realistically be expected to finish is the end of July, without exposing players to unnecessary risk – which all but rules out a June 6 resumption.

“How can you bring your players back and expose them to a level of risk they are not expected to undertake anywhere else?” said one club official involved in the meeting.

“Keeping players safe is the overriding priority. Even if games are played behind closed doors, 22 players can't social distance if they're involved in a game.

“We can't make any decisions to return while the Government's lockdown measures remain in place.”

There are concerns at the dangers posed to those players with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, and the potential dangers they face if clubs are rushed back to action too soon.

Another area of concern to clubs is the question of the eligibility of players to play into July, with many out of contract on June 30 and the legal issues that will throw up.

Clubs are obliged to pay players severance in July if they are out of contract and have not signed for another team.

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