Coronavirus crisis meeting: The agenda for EFL summit - with Sunderland braced for extended suspension
The EFL board are set to convene today as they map out their next steps to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
And with clubs eagerly awaiting updates, we take a look at what will be on the agenda of the governing body as they thrash out their plans:
THE CURRENT SUSPENSION
Currently, EFL games are not set to resume until April 3 – although this timescale is looking increasingly unlikely as the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of slowing down.
So likely top of the agenda will be whether to extend this suspension and, if so, when to?
Many leagues have now postponed action indefinitely or until the end of April when a further decision can be made.
It would be no surprise to see the EFL follow suit.
THE FATE OF THE SEASON – AND PLAYING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
The biggest question for many sides, and particularly those chasing promotion, is will the season actually be completed?
A number of pundits and spectators have floated the idea that the 2019/20 campaign should be declared null and void, with football resuming as usual from August.
But the EFL moved swiftly to deny these rumours earlier in the week – while some club owners have gone as far as threatening legal action against the league should such a decision be made.
An alternative, therefore, may be to play fixtures behind closed doors.
This isn’t without its own issues though, with clubs worried about the financial reprecussions if they lose vital match day income.
GUIDANCE FOR TEAMS
At the moment, there are no concrete guidelines as to what teams can and cannot do during the football blackout.
Some are training, some are not. Some are testing players, others are not.
There is also some confusion on whether friendlies can be played while the leagues are suspended, with some clubs eager to get minutes into their players ahead of the resumption of action – whenever that may be.
The EFL may, therefore, lay out a set of guidelines to help clubs during this difficult period.
One of the biggest obstacles for clubs in the EFL during the coronavirus outbreak is disruption to their cash-flow.
Match day income, which can hit six-figure sums even in League Two, has been taken away and some supporters are reluctant to purchase advance tickets or season tickets given the current uncertainty.
That could leave some clubs in a tricky financial situation, particularly given that tax bills are due at the end of the month and players will still be earning a salary despite the lack of competitive action.
So could the EFL step in to help those clubs in difficulty?
It’s something which has been heavily suggested by those outside the governing body as a way to help deal with the crisis, and it would be no surprise to see the EFL announce plans of some sort to help those clubs in difficulty.