Championship set for 20th June return

01 Jun 2020 07:29 am, by YorkshireSquare

Leeds United could take to the field again for the first time in three months within the next three weeks following yesterdays news from the Football League. The EFL has set 20th June, the same date as the first full round of Premier League fixtures, as the ‘provisional’ date for a return of the Championship, subject to the strict proviso that all safety requirements and government guidance is met. Each club has 9 games remaining, 108 in total with the aim of completing the Championship season with the play-off final on or around 30th July.

The announcement came a day after the UK government gave the green light for domestic competitive sport to return behind closed doors from today with horse racing already set to return. All game will be played behind closed doors, though an announcement on venues is yet to be made. Discussions are ongoing with clubs and broadcasters regarding screening all of the remaining 108 games. Some games are likely to be broadcast on Sky Sports with the reminder show via streaming services. EFL chair Rick Parry said…

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 wellbeing 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.

Whilst Leeds United players returned to training last week fit, healthy and raring to go, the same cannot be said for all Championship players with pictures of a slightly portly Aleksandar Mitrović emerging. As a result discussions are ongoing to increase the size of the matchday squad to twenty and number of substitutions allowed from three to five. This may benefit clubs who had not prepared well for the unscheduled break in the season, but could it reduce any advantage Bielsa’s squad had by maintaining their fitness levels during lockdown?

With a date now pencilled in the diary it seems like it won’t be long before we get to see Gjanni shaking the tunnel again, Pablo nutmegging opposition defenders, Jack Harrison Darting down the wing and Bamford smashing in a hat-trick. The feeling of excitement and nervous energy has started to return. It looks likely the nine remaining games will be played out and Leeds United’s destiny is very much in their own hands. Whilst Bundesliga played behind closed doors has failed to get me excited it will be different once our own team returns to the pitch and it seems like that’s only a matter of time now.

From the outset it has been clear that Leeds United management and players wanted to play out the final nine games. Deciding the league on point per game would have seen us promoted, but the players wanted to do it the right way, champions with no asterisks. Now they have the chance to go and win promotion out on the pitch, and I’m bloody excited about it!