What next for the EFL Championship?

The rumblings of if and when football should return continues with Championship side Hull City.

The Tigers emerged as the first club in the second tier of football to oppose a resumption of the season, insisting the campaign must be voided in a letter sent to English Football League chairman Rick Parry.

Ehab Allam, the club’s vice-chairman, has written to Parry and the other 23 clubs in the championship to outline his serious concerns over football’s return amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hull’s other concern is that they are disappointed that a club letter reportedly opposing the resumption of the Championship campaign had been leaked to the media.

The club stated that the correspondence was intended to remain private between the EFL and the other Championship clubs.

In the week that Championship clubs players were due to start coronavirus testing at least twice a week, with the possibility of a return to light training next Monday, news broke that no less than six positive results from over 740 coronavirus tests carried out by the Premier League, including three from Watford, could well back Allam’s message to the rest of the League.

So, in light of this news what impact will this have on other clubs decision when to restart the season. Unlike their counterparts in the two divisions of the football league, one of which has already decided to finish the season- EFL Division Two- Division One are still debating if their season should continue or not, with the likely outcome being to follow suit with Division Two and declaring the season stopped with promotion, play-offs and relegation all decided by PPG.

Whatever the outcome that the Championship sides eventually decide to go with, one scenario they surely can’t go with is to declare the season null and void. This must be the worst way of finishing any season in any sport. Having already played well over three quarters of a season already, you just can’t say to clubs that this is how we will close the season.

It will be grossly unfair on all players to end a long season this way, with no rewards at the end of it. There will always be arguments from different clubs about how to finish a season, but for the sake of football and sport there has to be some conclusion.

Yes, it won’t go down well with every club, however, in my opinion the fairest way of deciding any decision is on a points per game average. There will always be one or two clubs who would vote against this, depending on their current position in the league, but in sport, surely it is about pleasing the highest percentage of clubs.

In these unprecedented times that we are going through at the moment, difficult decisions have to be made by people who have never been put in this awkward position before.

For the sake of football, lets hope whatever decisions are made will be for the good of the game.

Article written by Peter Moore

Brentford crowned EFL Football Manager Cup Winners

Brentford supporter Sam Jacques successfully managed the Championship side to FM2020 EFL Cup glory this past weekend.

The Bees overcame Welsh side Swansea City in the final of the competition in a nerve racking penalty shoot out after the match finished 1-1 after 120 minutes of action.

The final was ultimately decided by David Raya’s penalty saving heroics after saving spot kicks from Andre Ayew and Conor Gallagher meaning that the shootout finished 5-4.

In truth, Jacques’s team should have won before it reached the penalty stage having created more than enough chances to win the contest in normal and extra time but were kept at bay by the Swansea’s impressive keeper, Freddie Woodman.

It was however the Welsh side, managed by supporter Gareth Roberts, who took the lead through Conor Gallagher who latched onto a long ball from Matt Grimes.

The lead lasted a mere 79 seconds as Emiliano Marcondes headed in Mathias Jensen’s free kick to make it 1-1 before half time.

The second half saw a number of missed chances from the Bees, Marcondes and striker Ollie Watkins both wasted good chances.  In extra-time Marcondes also saw a goal disallowed for offside.

Ultimately, these missed opportunities did not come back to haunt Brentford as they were able to keep their nerve from 12 yards to bring to an end a compelling virtual tournament organised by EFL and partnered by Mind UK.

Overall 54 teams took part in the tournament, which lasted over four weeks.  The JustGiving page set up has so far managed to raise £7,929 for the Mental Health Charity and there is still time to donate to this very worthwhile cause.

Plan to complete EUROPEAN competitions

Uefa president Aleksander Cerefin says it has a “concrete plan” for finishing the European season “in August”.

The head of European football’s governing body told BeIN Sports;

As things look now, I’m sure that we can finish the European season and this means Uefa competition, the games will “have to be played without spectators” but hopes the “majority” of domestic leagues will complete the season.

The Premier League has nine rounds of fixtures remaining, while Paris St-Germain were awarded the Ligue 1 title after the French government cancelled the 2019-20 sporting season.

The German Bundesliga returned behind closed doors on 16 May and Spain’s La Liga hopes to do the same in June after players returned to training.

Cerefin said leagues which do not complete the season “will still have to play qualifiers if they want to participate in Uefa competition” next season.

But how will this work? The quarter-finals and semi-finals are expected to be played over two legs and there are still round of 16 matches to be completed. This means they’re is a minimum of five matchdays plus the final to be completed. The competition would have to resume in June to have any chance of finishing in August with a week between matchdays. Is this realistic considering only the Bundesliga has returned so far and there is other leagues will restart before June.

Euro 2020, due to take place from 12 June to 12 July this summer, will now run from 11 June to 11 July next year after a decision to postpone in March.

Is The League One & Two season coming to an end?

Friday saw a very important meeting take place, with all the owners off the respective League One and League Two clubs, as they come to an agreement with what to do with the rest of the 19/20 campaign.

LEAGUE TWO

After a lengthy meeting on Friday, owners off all of the league Two teams decided that the best option for everyone involved was to finish the league two season, and decide the final table on Points Per Game (PPG).

This would mean that Swindon, Crewe And Plymouth Argyle would all be promoted to League One. Unfortunately, this would mean that Stevenage would be relegated to the National League for the first time in a decade. This means, the Play-Offs would be played  just like any other season ( Two Semi-Finals and a Final) to determine who the final promotion spot goes too.

A statement on The League Two Season was released by the EFL on Friday.  Here is what was said:

“Having considered the protocols and costs that would be required to be met to conclude the current season, League Two clubs have unanimously indicated a preferred direction of travel to curtail the campaign in line with the framework outlined by the EFL Board.

In addition, clubs asked for consideration to be given to suspending relegation to the National League for 2019/20 as a result of circumstances created where fixtures cannot be completed. No commitments were made in this respect and the Board will now consider the implications of the division’s preferred approach at their next meeting.”

So, therefore, the vote is subject to approval from the EFL and the FA.

League One

In the same way as League Two, The Owners from all of the respective League One clubs held a meeting to determine what would be the best way to finish the League One Season.   However, they couldn’t come to an agreement on what was best, but IF League One was to be determined using PPG, Coventry & Rotherham would be promoted to the Championship.  Subsequently, Tranmere Rovers, Southend United & Bolton Wanderers would be relegated to League Two.  Just like League Two, however, The Play-Offs would stay the same, (Two Semi-Finals & A Final) to determine the final promotion place.

Here is what the EFL had to say on the League One Season:

“There were varied views shared in League One and it was determined that there would be a further period of reflection and consultation to understand what creative solutions could be implemented. It was acknowledged that the need to find innovative and creative solutions was of paramount importance as was the need for decisions to be taken quickly.” 

There is expected to be an announcement on the League One Season in the next couple of days.

Bundesliga marks return of professional football

The eyes of the football world were on Germany when the Bundesliga returned to action on Saturday.It became the first major league to return since football was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, with six fixtures on Saturday and a further two matches due to be played on Sunday. All games were played under heavy precautions laid out by the German Football League. A strict hygiene and safety protocol, including the ban of crowds, was necessary to get the go-ahead from political authorities.

Erling Braut Haaland scored for Borussia Dortmund as they marked the return of the Bundesliga during the coronavirus outbreak with a convincing derby win over Schalke. There was an eerie atmosphere at Dortmund’s iconic Signal Iduna Park stadium, with every shout by players or coaches audible, and social distancing protocol followed by substitutes and during goal celebrations.

There was a surprise in the Dortmund line up as English starlet Jadon Sancho was only on the substitutes bench. The Match started slowly with Schalke being the more aggressive early on, however it did not take long for Dortmund to take control. Haaland opened the scoring with a trademark cool finish, flicking home Thorgen Hazard’s cross to continue his sensational season, In the build up Julian Brandt pulled of a delightful touch to release Hazard,

Raphael Guerreiro added two more goals and Hazard also found the net as Dortmund went on to claim a comfortable win over their near neighbours and move within a point of leaders Bayern Munich, who play on Sunday.

In the days most interesting and dramatic matches of the day, title contenders RB Leipzig were held to a 1-1 draw by Freiburg. Freiburg took the lead after 34 minutes from a poorly defended corner by Vincenzo Grifo which was put in by Manuel Guide.

Leipzeg had most of the play throughout the match with a total of 22 shots on goals, there best chance shortly after the break when half time substitute and former Everton player Ademola Lookman was left unmarked and completely free but miskicked. Leipzig had more chances but Freiburg were defending very well. They found their equalizer after 77 minutes through Yussuf Poulsen’s header. It could have turned out worse for RB as Freiburg thought they had won it when Robin Koch headed home a free-kick, but the VAR correctly ruled the goal out for offside, football is back and so is the drama of VAR.

The dropped points mena Leipzig are four points behind Bayern Munich who have a game in hand and three behind Dortmund, they’ve also been overtaken by Borussia Mönchengladbach.

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