EFL – Back to Business For The ChampionshipPeter Houghton
As the Government gives the thumbs-up for the EFL to accelerate its plans for the restart of football, Championship clubs were today permitted to begin stage one of the training protocols.
Over the weekend 1104 Championship players and staff were tested and only 2 were found to be positive, both believed to be from Hull City. Coming on the back of 6 from the first round of Premier League tests and only 2 from the second round, things are clearly going in the right direction and the Government has given a clear indication of its intention to allow football to recommence pretty much as soon as players are back up to speed. Although one 0f the target dates was 12 June, it looks more likely that it will be a week or so later.
This will come as a major boost to the EFL as it will enable them to complete probably the most important football competition there is, outside of the elite leagues around Europe. Smiles will no doubt abound around Leeds and West Bromwich and while Fulham, Brentford, Nottingham Forest, and Preston North End currently occupy the play-off places, there are at least another 5 in contention.
Charlton Athletic, Barnsley, and Luton Town will be looking nervously over their shoulder, with other sides positioned from 17th down needing to get a couple of early wins to ease the pressure.
So, it looks as though the first hurdle of the restart has been overcome and our colleagues will be hoping that this progress continues and matches get played with the minimum of discomfort, especially as week 2 of the Bundesliga restart looked, once again, looked to be a success with their cardboard cut-out crowd and matchday sound effects adding to the events. I understand that German fans paid 22euro to have their image placed in their seat!
We are still awaiting the outcomes for League 1 and we should hear more later this week.