The English Football League is at a standstill as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has unprecedented impacts on the sporting world.
The EFL is on hold with games around the country postponed for a number of weeks.
Teams all around the UK are competing for promotion or battling relegation and there’s plenty to play for.
Further down the football ladder, the National League has asked the FA to officially end their season by cancelling all remaining fixtures.
That is not the case in the EFL yet but as players are hauled up in self-isolation, there is a host of answered questions.
How long is the EFL suspended for?
A meeting between English football governing bodies agreed that all professional football in the UK will not resume until April 30 at the earliest.
Games in Leagues One and Two were last played on Tuesday, March 10 but no further EFL action has taken place.
The National League continued over the weekend of Saturday, March 14 but caught criticism for doing so and has since postponed matches as well.
Premier League games, upcoming FA Cup quarter-finals, Champions League and Europa League ties and international fixtures have also been pushed back.
When is the EFL likely to resume?
As it stands, games are set to resume no earlier than Saturday, May 2.
The situation is clearly evolving day-by-day and it remains to be seen if the EFL will be able to get back under way on that date.
Euro 2020 has already been rescheduled for next summer to give domestic leagues the chance to get their seasons finished should they run into the summer.
Clubs met via a conference call on Thursday, March 19 and decided to extend the league calendar ‘indefinitely’ to get the season finished, meaning it could go on until late in the year and delay the start of next season.
NATIONAL LEAGUE’S FULL STATEMENT
“The National League attended a further meeting last night (by video conference) with The Football Association, and The FA have been asked to assist us with making the decisions to officially postpone all remaining National League fixtures and to end the season as soon as possible for the purposes of player contracts.
“The National League is also working with the FA to define all reasonable and practical options for the determination of the 2019/20 season, and to provide guidance to Clubs on dealing with player contracts, player registrations and the application of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“We will continue to press for updates and will ensure that any further information is relayed to Clubs as soon as it is received.
“The League is very aware that Clubs are looking for answers and greater certainty, and we remain focused on delivering these in the most timely manner possible.
“Please keep the flow of information going with the League’s Directors and staff, and be assured that we will respond as soon as we can when updates are available on the various issues.
“Finally, thank you to all Clubs for submitting financial questionnaires. The data and comments have been reported to The Football Association, and we will continue to press for urgent additional assistance to be made available to National League and other non-league clubs.
“Above all we wish everyone a safe and healthy passage through these turbulent times.”
Could the EFL seasons be voided?
Promotions and relegations are yet to be confirmed in the Championship, League One and League Two and clubs face uncertain times ahead.
Like the Premier League, the EFL is eager to finish the current season and reach a conclusion by playing the remaining matches.
A statement read: “The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019-20 season, subject to the overriding priority around health and well-being.
“Plans continue to be developed on the agreed principle that it is in the best interests of the EFL and clubs to complete the current season at the appropriate time.
“The EFL is continuing regular dialogue with the government and relevant health authorities and, as and when more information is known regarding the scale and extent of the coronavirus outbreak in this country, a decision will be taken on the resumption of the league’s fixtures.
“Conversations will continue with the EFL’s counterparts at the FA, the Premier League, the PFA and the LMA to ensure football achieves a joined-up and collaborative approach.”
The National League are eager to cancel their season completely and it is unsure what impact this will have on the EFL as of yet.
Can EFL clubs survive?
The EFL recently announced a £50million short-term relief package to assist cash-strapped clubs during the crisis.
With gate-sales non-existent for several weeks at least, the EFL has moved to help clubs struggling with the ramifications of the suspension.
In a statement, the competition said: “As part of the league’s continued contingency planning, the board heard the comments and observations from EFL clubs, before discussing a number of issues including the current financial position and implications, insurance, regulatory matters and broadcasting arrangements.
“Discussions centred on financial relief for clubs in the short term and while there is no one single solution, measures are to be put in place to immediately assist with cash flow via a £50million short-term relief package.”
What else has the EFL said?
A joint statement made on Thursday, March 19 outlined how the EFL will move forward over the coming weeks.
It read: “The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the PFA and LMA, understand we are in unprecedented times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.
“We are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019/20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.
“We have collectively supported UEFA in postponing EURO 2020 to create space in the calendar to ensure domestic and European club league and cup matches have an increased opportunity to be played and, in doing so, maintain the integrity of each competition.
“The FA’s Rules and Regulations state that ‘the season shall terminate not later than the 1 June’ and ‘each competition shall, within the limit laid down by The FA, determine the length of its own playing season’.
“However, The FA’s Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season in relation to Professional Football.
“Additionally, we have collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than 30 April.
“The progress of COVID-19 remains unclear and we can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority. We will continue to follow Government advice and work collaboratively to keep the situation under review and explore all options available to find ways of resuming the season when the conditions allow.
We would all like to re-emphasise that our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.”