EFL eye two potential start dates for the much anticipated 2020/21 season following an important meeting which took place recently.
During these unusual times, fans are looking forward to the forthcoming campaign with current one still ongoing in the top three divisions of English football.
Swindon Town, Crewe Alexandra, Plymouth Argyle and Northampton Town have won promotion from League Two whilst Coventry City and Rotherham United also going up from League One. Wycombe Wanderers, Oxford United, Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town continue playing in the playoffs Monday night.
Bolton Wanderers, Southend United and Tranmere Rovers, who have been relegated, will be playing National League champions Barrow next season, and it is still unknown who out of Macclesfield Town and Stevenage will be definitely getting relegated from League Two as the EFL put forward an appeal to contest the Silkmen’s two point deduction, expecting more to be given, which would subsequently send the Cheshire side down.
So as fans of those who have gone up or down look towards the new campaign, the plans, if safety guidelines allow, is to allow supporters into grounds at a reduced capacity so social distancing protocols can be adhered to.
The two dates being discussed for the first game of the season are August 29 and September 12. A formal vote is expected to take place soon.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Shrewsbury chief executive Brian Caldwell revealed: “The EFL stated that they have been in discussion with the government for several weeks now regarding fans returning safely to grounds with social distancing measure still in place.
“The EFL are working closely with the Sports Ground Safety Authority on a study to look at crowd flows and social distancing to help ensure some form of fans can return to games safely on a potential reduced attendance.
“I think the main thing for fans to take away from this is that everything is being done to try and ensure fans can return to matches as soon as possible providing it’s safe of course.
“It was mentioned that they are working closely with government and the relevant authorities with the goal of hopefully having the possibility of fans even on reduced attendances returning for the start of next season all being well.
“At the moment, we’re working around the international break on September 5, would leave us with two potential start dates, either August 29 or September 12.
“If we were to vote on the 29th that would mean nine midweek matches instead of the normal five, with no runs of three league midweek games in a row.
“If we were to vote on the 12th this would firstly mean a broken start to the new campaign as some clubs may have players away on international duty for up to 10 days.
“On top of that, midweek matches would become 11 instead of five therefore meaning that there could be three midweek games back-to-back. Part of the issue is the loss of furlough from an earlier return on August 29.
“Either option will cause a backload which is why it’s important to try and get crowds in if we can.”
Fans reacted after reading reports that the EFL eye two potential start dates for 2020/21 season…
If teams couldn’t afford to finish last season behind closed doors, how can they start the new one?
— colin read (@colinread59) July 1, 2020
I’d rather wait until fans can go back.
— Ben Clemitshaw (@BClemitshaw) July 1, 2020
No point starting back without supporters inside the grounds
— Paul Taylor (@bloodtub63) July 1, 2020
— Zoë Perry #FBPE She/Her (@transzoeperry) July 1, 2020
It’s the dishonesty from clubs. They claim they couldn’t afford to finish the season although if they was in our position I 100% guarantee they’d have voted to continue whether it meant they lost money to have the chance of staying up.
— Boo the EFL 34th Minute (@BooTheEFL) July 1, 2020
The @EFL are unfit for duty. Shambles of an organisation
— Andrew Malcolmson (@podmundo) July 1, 2020
Smaller clubs can only start with fans revenue on match days, don’t start the season before more clubs end up folding.
— Simon Patrice-Booth (@PatriceBooth) July 1, 2020
Assuming this was the board and not clubs? Start in September, leave it as late as possible, gives clubs the highest chance of fans being allowed back and allows them to utilise furlough for the longest possible period? I’m assuming testing requirements won’t be too onerous?
— mike overill (@mike_overill) July 1, 2020
Don’t start without fans and by September they should be allowed back the virus has slmost run it’s course.
— VirtualVirgil (@PhilH23) July 1, 2020
Hope it’s the later date… Ridiculous that we can’t get fans back in even in part starting with season ticket holders (on a ballot rotation if too many season ticket holders)! Everyone wear a mask throughout – anyone seen without is ejected and use every other seat!
— Sean (@SeanAy89) July 1, 2020
The EFL will use their well known strong leadership and decision making skills to ensure that they manage the problem effectively and professionally as they always have done during the pandemic 😂🤭😂 pic.twitter.com/FD03auSY5P
— Wombling Free (@Mgdservices1972) July 1, 2020
29th is way too soon
— Sam? (@SamLewisPFC) July 1, 2020
Surely it would have been cheaper to finnish last season without crowds than start a new one without crowds, anyhows I suggest all teams who want to play football go for big wins in the first couple of games for the sake of ppg,
— wayne gary (@wkalve) July 2, 2020
Until fans are allowed back in I am really not that bothered.
— Simon Pallant (@Alexexile) July 1, 2020
If it takes them as long to decide how to start next season as it took them to decide how to end last season, then we might start by Christmas if we’re lucky.
— Tom O (@BigBoris11) July 1, 2020