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EFL make changes after growing unrest from fans, clubs, managers and pundits

The EFL are set to make changes after growing unrest from fans, clubs, managers and pundits over recent match postponements.

According to reports on Thursday, footballers at Football League clubs will no longer take Covid tests on matchdays in a bid to stop last-minute postponements of games as all 72 clubs continue to battle with surging cases.

This latest move will come into force immediately and has been made in response to a number of late decisions surrounding the status of games across the country during the festive period.

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These late decisions have led to anger from supporters with games called off after already travelling some distance to get to ground, only to learn that they have been postponed.

A big turnout of Blackburn Rovers fans made the 114-mile trip to Hull City on Boxing Day to discover that the game had been called off just two hours before kick off.

The new protocols now state that no player will be tested on matchday unless they are showing Covid symptoms and the decision has been backed by medical experts who do not believe there is any potential risk in avoiding ‘on the day’ tests.

On Boxing Day, just nine of the 32 scheduled EFL matches went ahead as clubs battle with the surge of Covid cases in changing rooms. Two of the planned second tier games were played on Boxing Day, too.

On Wednesday the 30th of December, 19 out of 28 EFL games were postponed, with only two out of 11 League Two fixtures going ahead.

On Thursday morning, the amount of games called off for the New Year went up again to seven, leaving many gutted but thankful it wasn’t an hour or two before kick off.

Blackpool manager Neil Critchley came down hard on the EFL over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Seasiders were without 10 players for Wednesday night’s 2-1 home defeat to in-form Middlesbrough due to a combination of Covid, injury and suspension.

Blackpool will face Hull City at Bloomfield Road on New Year’s Day in what will be the Tigers’ first game since December 18th after seeing their last two games against Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield United called off.

As many as 20 positive cases have hit the Hull squad in the past couple of weeks including boss Grant McCann.

Just two games went ahead on December 26th with eight others called off and fixtures continue to be lost, something Critchley feels strongly about.

“They hide behind certain statements and repeat them but then games just get called off and they say there’s going to be sanctions,” the Tangerine’s boss told Lancs Live after Boro’s stoppage time winner.

“It just baffles me, it really baffles me what’s happening really to be honest.”

“They hide behind certain statements and repeat them but then games just get called off and they say there’s going to be sanctions,” the Tangerine’s boss told Lancs Live after Middlesbrough’s stoppage time winner.

“It just baffles me, it really baffles me what’s happening really to be honest.”

Blackpool FC on Twitter: "📽 "Football's a cruel game sometimes. It's  really difficult because we've taken part in a really good game of football  tonight..." Post-match reaction from Neil Critchley: ⬇️  https://t.co/PQRih6ZUiN" /

In order for a game to go ahead, teams must be able to field 14 players including a goalkeeper, but many within football including Sky pundit Gary Neville have called for those rules to be relaxed and for youth team players to be included.

“When they’re saying that certain players within our squad are eligible who are not in the 25 man squad, then I’m thinking well, that must be the case across the country then,” he said.

“I know for a fact clubs have got bigger squads than us, you only have to have played one minute of a league game, not just for your parent club for anyone, to be eligible.

“Well some of these clubs carry big academies, who’ve got players who have played minutes yet they’ve had games off.

“They must have some outbreak of Covid that’s for certain.”

Twitter users reacted as EFL make changes after growing unrest from fans, clubs, managers and pundits…

@dunn_outdoors: They need to scrap requests for postponements for injuries.

@TomBAFCjarvo: Good should stop mass testing all together to only test if a player has symptoms

@Ryanjameshayes: Finally bloody hell

@Countyram: Just stop testing people who are well please

@CRparker88: About time

@peterlucas111: Didn’t help Blackburn fans bloody joke efl

@statts1971: This is a Tory party type answer to a situation. So we are saying it’s safe to play as long as you aren’t tested? What were we testing on the day for if it was safe? Right decision but head in sand process as always

@Fantanafest73: Common sense prevails. Next step, stop testing, remove restrictions, chuck the ridiculous passports in the bin altogether and this whole thing goes away 👌

@ltw0303: Should have been that way since the beginning. EFL needs to be proactive not reactive. That’s leadership 101

@Merri_ManP: Superb news. Step in the right direction.

@NewsSaddlers: Good news here for travelling fans! There should be no cancellations on match day unless it’s exceptional circumstances

@Nin0_Bar0ne: Slowly but surely we’re getting there.

@mattywazza: About time the EFL are finally doing something good now sort out the referees

@_danjlind: Some common sense at last

@alexwest88: How was this not decided before the season even started? The league is run by absolute amateurs.

@HullCityAFCAus: Surely the sensible solution is to test earlier in the day, rather than not test at all? This endangers the health of both sets of players.

@JE22_JCK: Just test the night before

@BradTalbot1993: @premierleague take note

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