Coventry City could be back in action as early as August as the EFL ponder two potential dates to begin the 2020/21 season.
The EFL board met this morning to discuss when next season’s campaign, the Sky Blues’ first back in the Championship for eight years, will begin.
CoventryLive understands that two dates have been put forward to clubs today and both dates are earlier than first anticipated for the second division’s return.
The first possible restart date considered by the EFL is August 29, the final weekend of August. That date is only two weeks later than the 2020-21 season would have stared without the coronavirus pandemic halting sport.
Should that prove too soon, it is understood the EFL have a back-up date of September 12, a month later than a regular league campaign would begin.
These early dates would allow club football to push on during the coronavirus pandemic with expanded television coverage helping to provide more broadcast income for struggling sides with games still forecast to be staged behind closed doors.
The EFL may also have to loosen some of their coronavirus guidelines to make any restart as safe for players and their families as possible – something also discussed today.
Finance experts predicted that the final ten games of the 2019-20 season would have cost lower league clubs £500,000 to complete due to the high cost of testing.
Since then the EFL have tested players from the lower leagues set to be involved in play-off tournaments but it is understood that they will not be able to do so should all clubs return to action.
Coventry have acted cautiously when setting out their budget plan for next season.
CEO Dave Boddy has told CoventryLive that the club are bracing themselves for the realistic possibility that they will not able to welcome fans back into stadiums until the New Year.
He said: “I think it is going to be difficult financially for clubs to play on without fans at any level, even in the Championship.
“When we did those budgets [back in May], we were under the assumption that no fans would be allowed back until January but hopefully as the lockdown restriction are released that can change.
“I am looking forward to welcoming fans back because it is going to be so strange.” he added.