EFL chief provides major update on Championship season in open letter to Leeds United fans
EFL chairman Rick Parry says Leeds United's matches will likely be played behind closed doors when the Championship resumes.
In an open letter to supporters on the EFL Website, Parry addressed the ongoing uncertainty in football due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Parry admits he remains unsure when matches will resume but when they are, they are likely to be played without crowds.
And while it won't come as any consolation to Whites fans, Parry says there are plans to broadcast all matches via relevant streaming services.
Indeed, Parry insists resuming the current campaign remains the priority, which will come as good news to Leeds and their push for the Premier League.
The letter reads: "When it comes to footballing matters, I understand the desire among fans for definitive answers, particularly around the conclusion of 2019/20 campaign. As I am sure you will appreciate, the situation presents significant operational and financial challenges, including the logistics of Clubs returning to full operational status, the practicalities of playing football behind closed doors, and the possible knock-on effects for the 2020/21 campaign. Please be assured that we are working hard on these and will update you as soon as we can once decisions have been made.
"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.
"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.
"Aside from two catastrophic World Wars, this pandemic is arguably the most challenging issue to have affected football since the League was founded 132 years ago. Our Clubs have been left with significant outgoings while facing a sudden loss of income. With this in mind, I’m sure you will be aware of talk about wages and deferrals. Good progress is being made in these areas, with a view to this assisting in delivering medium to long-term solutions that protect our game for years to come.
"As I said when I arrived, the EFL and its Clubs matter to many people, but most of all to the supporters. It is natural, at this stage, that you will have many questions, and we will endeavour to continue to provide answers and solutions, but we must do so with your health – as well as that of the entire nation - in mind.
"I thank you for your patience so far and ask for more of the same; this is a serious situation which is changing by the day, and one which requires informed and considered decisions. The next few weeks will bring more clarity when it comes to our operational plans and, as always, we’ll look to maintain regular communication."