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Exclusive: Chairman tells ITV News the EFL Covid-19 blueprint means 'clubs will have to look after themselves'

The EFL said clubs should prepare to play remaining clubs behind closed doors. Credit: PA

The EFL has outlined a return-to-football timetable and told its clubs to prepare for remaining matches to be completed probably behind closed doors, during a 56 day summer period.

There will be flexibility over the dates of course because Covid-19 is far from under control but in a letter the league’s chairman Rick Parry did advise clubs that no training should begin again until May 16 at the earliest.

He also said for the time being £125m released early by the Premier League, will stay in the bank “while additional clarity is sought on other financial matters, particularly in respect to player wages.”

That particular decision aligned with the fact that the PFA led talks on player wage adjustments continue without resolution is frustrating for many clubs struggling badly with their cashflows, as the April payroll approaches fast.

Credit: PA

One League 2 club chairman told ITV News “I think clubs will have to look after themselves.

"The PFA aren’t coming forward to help…basically they want proof we can’t afford to pay them!”

And what about the EFL withholding the Premier League’s £125m?

“The monies are advanced, not extra, which will just kick the can down the road.”

Parry’s answer to the longer term is addressed elsewhere in his letter ‘…it does remain important that we continue to focus on the short and medium-term goals and achieving a solution for April payroll has to be the priority at present though, understandably, our aim is to provide clubs clarity for planning purposes beyond this as quickly as possible.’

Rick Parry said training should not begin until May 16 at the earliest. Credit: PA

But Accrington Stanley’s chairman Andy Holt believes the long term is vital now.

He accepts it’s important to finish this season but in a series of tweets outlined reasons why clubs might actually consider folding now, saving further losses, and then come back in better shape when Covid-19 really has been defeated.

“I need a proper steer on NEXT SEASON or I’m stupid wasting all the clubs reserves to finish the competition.” he tweeted. “I’d be better to wind the club up now saving £2m and having that strength to restart AFTER COVID-19. You’re burning our club to finish the season.”

Chairmen suggesting clubs close down voluntarily to navigate a safe way through this crisis, tells you much about why football, especially in the lower leagues will never look the same again.