The EFL has confirmed it will aim to bring this season to a “successful conclusion” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Stoke City‘s Championship campaign is currently suspended until at least April 3 as a result of the ongoing public health crisis.
There remain major doubts over whether matches will be able to resume on that date.
However, the Football League have stated their intention to complete the season when possible.
An emergency EFL board meeting was held in Preston today (Wednesday) to discuss the implications of the COVID-19 outbreak for the League and its clubs.
Afterwards, a statement was issued, which reads as follows…
“After receiving a detailed brief on a number of matters, the board reaffirmed that the health and well-being of EFL staff, players, club employees and supporters would remain central to all decisions in these fast-changing circumstances.
“The EFL Board also acknowledges the positive role that member clubs are playing in community solidarity, especially in supporting the vulnerable at this time.”
The EFL then set out the following plan, which includes financial support for clubs during the shutdown…
2019-20 SEASON SCHEDULE
The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season, subject to the over-riding priority around health and well-being. Plans continue to be developed on the agreed principle that it is in the best interests of the EFL and clubs to complete the current season at the appropriate time.
The EFL is continuing regular dialogue with the Government and relevant health authorities and, as and when more information is known regarding the scale and extent of the coronavirus outbreak in this country, a decision will be taken on the resumption of the League’s fixtures.
Conversations will continue with the EFL’s counterparts at the FA, the Premier League, the PFA and the LMA to ensure football achieves a joined-up and collaborative approach.
As part of the League’s continued contingency planning, the Board heard the comments and observations from EFL clubs, before discussing a number of issues including the current financial position and implications, insurance, regulatory matters and broadcasting arrangements.
Discussions centred on financial relief for clubs in the short term and while there is no one single solution, measures are to be put in place to immediately assist with cash flow via a £50million short-term relief package.
This fund consists of the remaining Basic Award payments being advanced to clubs immediately, with the remainder made up through interest-free loan facility available to clubs, calculated in line with the EFL’s Article of Associations.
The cash injection is included as part of a series of measures, that includes potential Government support to help clubs and their associated businesses through this period of uncertainty. The EFL welcomes last night’s announcement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and is continuing discussions to understand how our clubs can access the funding made available to support businesses.
In addition, we will continue our discussions with our football partners to determine how we can all get through this difficult, challenging and unprecedented situation.
If you want to follow all things Stoke City via social media then this is the place to find out how.
Transfers, injuries, match-day videos and photos and the thoughts of the manager and his players, we’ve got you covered.
We’ll be bringing the very latest on the Potters throughout the week and around the clock.
Make sure you keep yourself updated with our trio of social media accounts…
The Potters on social media…
Facebook: News, debate and nostalgia
Twitter: All the news as it happens
You can follow our reporter on Peter Smith on Twitter, and his email address is Peter.Smith01@reachplc.com
The EFL, through a dedicated taskforce, continues to review the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and its impact on our clubs and competitions.
Alongside ensuring the 2019/20 season reaches a successful conclusion, protecting the EFL and its clubs is a key priority for the EFL Board, who have today agreed on the following objectives to support future decision-making:
• Ensure the health and well-being of our clubs’ employees, supporters and communities
• Make a positive contribution to the UK’s efforts to tackle coronavirus
• Protect the EFL’s financial model and club finances
• Enable the EFL to continue to function as a business
• Deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season