EFL players below Championship told it is likely season will NOT be finished with too many coronavirus tests needed to resume action and stadiums empty until January
- An EFL board meeting has resulted in players being told the season is in doubt
- Sportsmail understands there is little expectation of play restarting in June
- One problem is the high number of coronavirus tests required for players
- Final standings in each league could be decided on the ‘sporting merit’ system
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Players below the Championship have been told that the chances of the current season ever being finished are fading.
With Premier League chief executives due to meet to discuss ‘Project Restart’ tomorrow, the EFL are also grappling with the problem of how best to find a way through the problems caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
With most Championship clubs still committed to finding a way to finish the season, resolve is understood to be weakening further down the league pyramid.
Players below the Championship have been told that hopes for the current season are fading
There are a number of options on the table to decide the final standings of the 2019-20 season
Now, after an EFL board meeting yesterday, club captains and PFA reps have been told to relay to their team-mates the very real possibility of no more football being played.
Sportsmail understands that players have been told in the last 24 hours that, despite plans to resume training in May, there is very little expectation at EFL level of any football being played in June.
In terms of supporters, they are not expected back in EFL stadiums until next January at the earliest.
One of the main problems facing the EFL is the high number of coronavirus tests for players that would be required in order to see the current season through to its conclusion safely.
It is understood that number run in to tens of thousands and EFL clubs and board members are worried how that would look at a time when there are currently not enough for NHS and key workers.
Coventry City are top of League One but have been told season may not reach a conclusion
In terms of determining the outcome of the current season, Championship clubs – including leaders Leeds – still want to play on. Below that, the picture is less clear.
Players have been told that using the ‘sporting merit’ system is one of the options on the table. That would see teams’ final standings determined by how many points they have earned per game played.
It is possible, if this system was agreed and used, that clubs in the automatic promotion places would go up with no teams coming down.
That, however, would need agreement with the Premier League and is far from being ratified. Many clubs feel that, if at all possible, the age-old system of promotion and relegation should not be interfered with.
West Brom are currently second in the Championship, in the final automatic promotion spot
One difficult matter that has been put to the players over the last 24 hours concerns those who are out of contract.
As revealed by Sportsmail last week, EFL clubs are not prepared to pay players whose contracts run out in June extra money if the season does continue and runs in to July, August and even beyond. They will merely expect them to play on.
Players have now been asked by their PFA reps to vote on whether they think this is acceptable and whether they would be prepared to do it. This could yet be a deal breaker as some clubs will simply not be able to compete without the services of players in the last year of their contracts.
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