Lee Hoos was enjoying the late evening sunshine in his back garden in deepest Hampshire on Sunday evening when the call came. The phone rang. It was another Championship chief executive. “Have you seen our schedule?” – “What schedule?,” exclaimed Hoos.
And as he quickly consulted his phone, there it was in a stark bulletin from the English Football League.
The Championship would be starting again, after the lay off for the coronavirus pandemic, on June 20, just under three weeks away – and the play-off final at the end of the campaign would be on or around July 30.
So – some 108 matches to be fitted into a packed schedule in just over six weeks, and then the play off semi-finals and final.
It is not that Queens Park Rangers chief executive Hoos and his club were not expecting the call for a restart soon.
But the bombshell manner in which it was dropped on them by the EFL without any consultation has left the west London club fuming.
American Hoos said: “I was absolutely stunned when I read what was being proposed.
“They had given us 40 minutes notice. The lack of consultation with the clubs has been outrageous. It was just dropped on us.
“I hear what people say about making excuses and we should be ready – but how can you do this without consulting with the clubs? One extra week is at the very least necessary for Championship clubs.
“Of course everyone wants to play.
“They say we are making a fuss about injuries. But do we want our most valuable assets sitting around? Of course not.
“No club goes out of business because of the amount spent on stationary – they go out of business of the money spent on players.
“If they are injured during this period, with the close season gap being very probably a short one, they will probably be injured for the start of next season For a club like ours that could put us on our knees.
“The sports scientists say three weeks is too short a period. We will get injuries.
“An extra weeks training, even if it means taking the league into the first and second weeks in August. What would be the problem?
“If this is the kind of attitude we are getting from the EFL then I might just join those who want to call it off!”
Hoos is also outraged at the lack of planning so far from the EFL about setting up stadiums for games behind closed doors, travelling to and from matches and about accommodation.
He said: “We need to provide safe stadiums. That has not been talked about.
“We will need security personnel. How many press will we allow in? These are core requirements.
“Is it best for teams to travel by train or coach? And hotels will need to be deep cleaned and disinfected. None of these issues have been discussed.
“In Germany they laid down the guidelines weeks before they started to play. They made plans.
“But what do we need for Championship matches? Haven’t a clue. We have not been told.”
Although the EFL have stated that the dates are only provisional, and are set to be rubber stamped at next Monday’s meeting, it is almost certain they will be given the green light.
Hoos continued: “The EFL needs a reboot. To do something that it has never done before – planning.
“Right now the system is not working.”
Published at Mon, 01 Jun 2020 23:00:00 +0000