English Football League plans to stream all remaining games online

Coventry and Rotherham occupy the automatic promotion places in League One

The English Football League is planning to stream every remaining game live once the season restarts, chairman Rick Parry has said in a letter to fans.

Elite football in England is suspended indefinitely because of coronavirus.

In a separate letter sent to clubs on Thursday and since obtained by the BBC, Parry has also warned that they needed to be ready to restart the season at “relatively short notice”.

He added that clubs needed to “consider public perception” regarding training.

“As advised last week, a recommended return-to-training date of 16 May at the earliest is still in place,” he wrote.

“We are conscious of the issues facing clubs wanting to provide their staff and players clarity around preparing for a return to ‘work’, though we should all remember if you are tempted to reconvene squads or groups of players that social distancing measures as per UK Government advice remain in place.

“The EFL, through its regulations, does not have the power to enforce clubs to cease its training activities but you should all consider any potential negative perception you may receive through the court of public opinion if you choose to engage whilst the country remains in lockdown.”

He said that, although “no date has been discussed” in regards to restarting the season, their “planning needs to be agile enough to allow us to be as prepared as possible for a start at relatively short notice”.

‘We will endeavour to bring live football to your homes’

On Friday, the EFL released an open letter from Parry addressing supporters about the state of play in the English game.

He said their “biggest challenge” is “not knowing” when crowds will return at matches, but that fans would still be able to watch games online or on television.

He added: “We will endeavour to bring live football direct into your homes once it returns.

“With or without spectators, delivering a successful conclusion to the 2019-20 season remains our goal to ensure the integrity of our competitions.”

Writing on the 132nd anniversary of the foundation of the Football League, former Premier League and Liverpool chief executive Parry said the pandemic was “arguably the most challenging issue” the sport has faced outside of wartime.

Last week the EFL told clubs the season can be completed in 56 days when it is safe to resume.

“Plans are continuing to be worked up for all games to be broadcast either via our broadcast partners, iFollow or equivalent club streaming services,” Parry said.

“The next few weeks will bring more clarity when it comes to our operational plans.”

On Tuesday, the EFL and Professional Footballers’ Association proposed that clubs in Leagues One and Two defer up to 25% of players’ wages in April, with Parry adding that “good progress is being made in these areas”.

“This will assist in delivering medium to long-term solutions that protect our game for years to come.”

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