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Championship return date revealed

Scott Hogan goes close in our last match
Scott Hogan goes close in our last match

The EFL Championship season is set to resume on the weekend of 20 June.

The League has agreed to this as a provisional restart date to embark on playing the remaining fixtures.

The announcement comes after the Government gave the go-ahead to allow elite sporting events to return behind closed doors.

In a statement, the EFL insisted that 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.

The EFL are keen to complete the 2019/20 campaign around the same time as the Premier League, due to promotion and relegation issues.

The Premier League is due to get back underway on 17 June.

The EFL also revealed that, as well as allowing up to five substitutes in a game, matchday squads could increase from 18 to 20 players.

Blues last match was at home to Reading on 7 March. Football in this country was suspended on 13 March, ahead of the side's scheduled trip to West Bromwich Albion.

However, each division in the EFL will get the opportunity to decide whether they should play on.

Clubs are set to meet on 8 June as the League aims to rubber-stamp proposals on how to end a season early - or not - because of Coronavirus.

The new framework was laid out on 21 May, including promotion, relegation and play-offs remaining.

A 51 per cent majority of clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two is required to approve the curtailment of the campaign in each division.

The indications are that Championship clubs want to continue the season to a natural finish.

The EFL statement in full:

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 Leagues Broadcast partner, Sky Sports.

During the weekends 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 Clubs set to return to full contact training later this week and following Saturdays Government announcement, we are edging closer towards resuming the 2019/20 EFL season. We have therefore today consulted with the Boards 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 Clubs 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."

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