Port Vale behind-closed-doors games could be broadcast to fans under EFL plans



The EFL plans to broadcast behind-closed-doors games to supporters, once it is safe for football to resume.

League chairman Rick Parry has outlined the plans in an open letter to fans published through clubs’ websites today.

The football season has been suspended since March 13 because of the coronavirus crisis. Parry doesn’t know when games will restart but expects them to be played behind closed doors whenever football can eventually resume.

He says:  “To give you an honest assessment of the current situation; the point at which you will be able to attend games again remains unclear. Please be assured, however, that we are going to welcome you back to stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so.

“Your contribution to the matchday experience and atmospheres created in stadia up and down the country is something we should never take for granted.

“Unfortunately, I cannot tell you today when football will resume, though whenever we do return, matches are likely to be played without crowds.

“And whilst we are unfortunately without the presence of the hundreds of thousands of supporters who pass through EFL turnstiles each week, we will endeavour to bring live football direct into your homes once it returns.

“Plans are continuing to be worked up for all games to be broadcast either via our broadcast partners, iFollow or equivalent Club streaming services. We will update you on this once we know when matches will recommence.

“The contribution to football’s finances made by match-going supporters should not be underestimated. It is critical to the business model of league football. Perhaps the biggest challenge right now is not knowing when we will be able to reintroduce football in front of crowds. We can only hope that the situation develops in such a way that we will be able to do with the shortest possible break.”

Parry says the league remain committed to finishing the 2019/20 season rather than scrapping it to make more room for next season.

Port Vale were eighth in League Two, one point outside the play-off places when the season was suspended.

He added: “With or without spectators, delivering a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season remains our goal to ensure the integrity of our competitions.

“This, of course, means that a number of factors – including when, where and within what timeframe fixtures will be played – must be given careful consideration in line with Government advice. Similar factors must also be taken into account when agreeing an approach towards player training and testing, not least the appropriate level of medical resource and creation of an effective and efficient medical matchday protocol.

“As we’ve previously stated, the health and wellbeing of our Clubs, their players and staff, and you – the fans – remains our first priority, and so you can appreciate that we want to give thorough and rigorous thought to these matters.

“From the outset, we have committed to regular dialogue with each of these groups, as well as the Government, in order to tackle the challenges we face as effectively as possible. As well as taking into account the current climate in terms of public opinion, including those views of fans, we are regularly taking ideas and suggestions from our clubs.”

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