QPR boss Mark Warburton has outlined his issues with the EFL’s announcement that the Championship is set to return on the 20th of June, raising concerns over player welfare and a lack of proper notice for clubs.
It has been nearly three months since the English football season ground to a halt but the EFL announced yesterday that the 20th of June is the provisional date for the return of the 2019/20 Championship season.
There are 108 more games to be played in the division but they will now happen behind closed doors and will be broadcast via Sky Sports, iFollow, or the club’s equivalent streaming service.
The EFL has also revealed that the season will conclude with the play-off final on or around the 30th of July.
The decision does not seem to sit well with QPR. CEO Lee Hoos revealed his opposition to the 20th of June return date earlier and now, speaking to Sky Sports, Warburton has labelled the decision “ludicrous”.
He said: “We are all for finishing the campaign, but give us the time to prepare the players to avoid the injury risk. We have to make sure we avoid the medical chaos in the injury room.
“Now suddenly last night, without any consultation, we get told that we are starting in less than three weeks which I just find to be ludicrous.”
He added: “You are much better off having an extra week or 10 days to work with, prepare your players and maintain the normal rules than you are worrying about the five substitutes and changing the normal guidelines.”
Warburton emphasised his concern for the welfare of Championship players.
He said: “They are elite players. This is not park football. They are expected to perform at elite level in front of a TV audience, unfortunately not a stadium audience but a TV audience.
“You have to give the players the best chance of performing without the fear of injury. They recognise where we are globally in society but we have to give them the best chance of hopefully going out there and delivering the level of standard that we expect from them.”
It is understood discussions will be held with clubs after the decision was made to consider allowing matchday squads to be increased from 18 to 20 and to permit the use of five substitutes instead of three.
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While clearly the news about the return of the Championship, you can see where Warburton is coming from.
The final nine games of the season, plus the play-offs, are already going to be played in a condensed time period, and the short notice clubs have been given is not likely to help anyone.
That said, difficult decisions were always going to have to be made to ensure that the 2019/20 campaign can be completed.