Preston North End ready to resume Championship action on June 20

Preston North End look set to resume action on June 20 after the EFL set a provisional return for the Championship.

Sunday, 31st May 2020, 10:59 pm
Updated Sunday, 31st May 2020, 11:12 pm
Preston North End's Deepdale ground

The EFL announced on Sunday evening that June 20 was the date they were working towards, providing safety and Government guidance is met.

Games will be behind closed doors but it is hoped all will be broadcast or streamed live.

All Championship clubs have nine matches left to play, and the season will be completed by the end of July - the play-off final is set to take place 'on or around' July 30.

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To help the season be played to a finish in the short time frame, teams are set to be able to name match day squads of 20 players.

That would allow five substitutes to be used in matches rather than the current permitted three.

The season was suspended on March 13 due to the Covid-19 pandemic at the 37-game mark.

Sunday's statement from the EFL said: "Following Saturday’s announcement by the Government to allow elite sporting events to return behind closed doors, the EFL has this weekend agreed to a provisional restart date of the weekend of 20 June 2020 for matches in the Sky Bet Championship.

"The date is subject to the strict proviso that all safety requirements and Government guidance is met; and that clubs receive clearance from their local authorities in order to stage matches at their home grounds.

"After discussing various approaches, and, the importance of completing the season in a similar timeline to that of the Premier League to avoid any potential issues with promoted and relegated clubs, the Sky Bet Championship season is set to conclude with the Championship Play-Off Final on or around 30 July 2020.

"Final details are still to be confirmed following further discussions with the League’s Broadcast partner, Sky Sports.

"During the weekend’s discussions it was further agreed to consider changing Regulations to permit the use of five substitutes in the remaining fixtures and, also increasing the matchday squad from 18 to 20 players. Discussions will continue with Championship clubs in this respect.

"The fixture schedule, broadcast selections and details on iFollow/streaming services will follow in due course."

EFL Chair Rick Parry said: “With Sky Bet Championship Ccubs set to return to full contact training later this week and following Saturday’s Government announcement, we are edging closer towards resuming the 2019/20 EFL season.

"We have therefore today consulted with the Board’s Championship Directors and agreed to fixtures restarting behind closed doors on 20 June.

"Whilst matches will unfortunately have to take place without supporters, we are working with our broadcast partners, EFL Championship clubs and all relevant stakeholders to broadcast the remaining 108 games plus Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs either live on Sky Sports, iFollow or a club’s equivalent streaming service.

“We must stress that at this stage the date is only provisional and will only be confirmed once we have met all the requirements, as the health, safety and well-being of all participants, staff and supporters remains our top priority.

“Clearly completing the season in a safe manner is going to require a significant effort by all concerned and, whilst not unprecedented, it will need clubs to play a significant number of matches over a relatively short period of time.”