League Two clubs unanimously agreed to cancel the regular season with immediate effect last week, but the EFL has insisted that promotion and relegation will take place regardless of cancellations. (Picture courtesy: Stevenage FC/ Twitter)
The English Football League have released guidelines to complete the current season, adding that clubs will still be promoted and relegated across all three divisions despite the season being curtailed.
"The EFL Board met to consider the feedback and subsequent implications of last week’s divisional club meetings, as the League continues to address the many complex financial and operational matters resulting out of the Covid-19 crisis, including how the 2019-20 campaign is concluded,” a statement said.
"The various proposals and counter proposals received from clubs have been reviewed and, as a result, the Board has finalised the draft framework that would be adopted into EFL regulations, in the event that a division is to make the decision to curtail its season as League Two indicated last Friday. Clubs are now required to give the matter further consideration, before the Board formally proposes the appropriate regulation changes, which will then be voted on by all Clubs."
“But the board accepts there are circumstances that may lead to curtailment [as has been demonstrated with League Two] or a situation subsequently transpires whereby the season is unable to conclude,” it added
“The principle of relegation across all three divisions is integral to the integrity of the pyramid, from the Premier League down to the National League, provided we have assurances that the National League will start season 2020-21,” it added.
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UEFA chief Ceferin optimistic about Euros going ahead next year
UEFA President Alexander Ceferin, in conversation with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo on Thursday expressed his optimism about the postponed European Championships 2020 going ahead next year.
“Yes I would bet on it. I don’t see why it shouldn’t happen. I don’t think the virus will last forever,” Ceferin said. Last week Ceferin had revealed his concerns over the tournament from going ahead due the problems regarding the 12 host cities.
“The situation is serious but it is improving and we are more careful now. We know more about the virus and for now I’m optimistic,” he added.
While certain Leagues such as Bundesliga have resumed the games without spectators, Ceferin however believes that fans will be back at football matches in no time.
“I don’t like apocalyptic visions that say we should expect a second wave, a third or a fifth. People we know will die one day, but do we need to be worried now? Should we be fearful now? I don’t think so,” Ceferin said. “We are ready (to hold the Euros) and we’re going to follow the recommendations of the health authorities. I’m absolutely sure that the good and old football with supporters will be back soon.”
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Injuries under the spotlight as Bundesliga continues
Injuries have come under the spotlight going ahead after the Bundesliga restart produced a number of victims last week.
Leaders Bayern Munich will host 13th-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday evening while Borussia Dortmund, four points behind in second, will visit sixth-placed VfL Wolfsburg in the afternoon.
While last week's restart without any spectators in the stadium was a relative success, there have been at least half a dozen players that suffered injuries raising concern over direct resumption without any warm-up matches.
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Giovanni Reyna was denied a first start due an injury during the warmup when they faced Schalke in the Ruhr derby. He was replaced by Thorgan Hazard who was then injured mid game. Schalke themselves suffered two injuries,Jean-Clair Todibo and Amine Harit hauled off before full time. Many more players like Sebastian Rudy and Ihlas Bebou of Hoffenheim, Borussia Moechengladbach's Marcus Thuram and Per Ciljan Skjelbred of Hertha Berlin were also pulled off from fixtures due to different injuries.
Temporary measures have been brought in to deal with such uncertain circumstances and teams have been allowed to make five substitutions per match instead of three.
UEFA's eEuro finals on May 23-24 to be streamed on YouTube
The 2020 European Championships have been postponed by a year but fans who miss live action will still be able to support their national teams when they go against each other in the inaugural eEURO 2020 tournament this weekend.
Gamers from all 55 UEFA national associations took part in the qualifying rounds, and now, 16 teams will compete in the final tournament with matches that will get streamed on UEFA’s YouTube channel.
They are going to compete at the Konami’s eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 (PES 20) on the PlayStation 4 video game console.
"This tournament has given efootball enthusiasts the chance to dream of representing their country on the biggest stage and we've witnessed memorable moments over the last few months," UEFA Events SA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein said in a statement.
Games without fans 'sadder than dancing with your sister', says Luis Enrique
Spain coach Luis Enrique said playing with spectators is ‘sadder than dancing with your own sister’, as football moves towards being played without supporters for the foreseeable future due to the ongoing pandemic.
The Bundesliga became the first major European league to resume football last week after it was suspended for two-months, with strict hygiene measures being taken at all matches across the country.
"[Playing without fans] is sadder than dancing with your own sister. It's not attractive," Luis Enrique told the ‘Colgados del aro’ basketball show on Wednesday.
"I watched the German football [games] and it's a sad sight. You hear the voices, you even hear the insults... you lose the intimacy of the better moments. Watching football again or any other sport, as a fan it's interesting," he added.
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