David Prutton calling for further patience in EFL season and Leeds United’s promotion bid
DAVID PRUTTON feels it is still too early to make a definitive call on how to conclude the English football season including Leeds United’s promotion bid.
The former Whites midfielder and Sky Sports presenter admits the Premier League and EFL will have to be reactive to the government’s plans unveiled this weekend, with all eyes also on German football’s restart on May 16.
United’s quest to secure Premier League football has been on hold since the second weekend in March when the English professional game was halted as Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi both tested positive for coronavirus.
Nearly two months on, the Premier League and EFL seasons remain suspended with the country on lockdown in the fight against COVID-19 amidst strict social distancing measures.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to map out his coronavirus ‘exit plan’ when addressing the nation on Sunday and both the Premier League and EFL have continually stated their desire to fulfil all remaining fixtures when safe to do so.
Speaking on Tuesday, EFL chairman Rick Parry said the cut-off point for concluding the EFL season had to be July 31 when around 1,400 players will be out of contract.
Parry said decisions needed to be taken “within days” and that the EFL needed guidance on returning to play “very, very quickly.”
The EFL initially wrote to all of their clubs last month declaring an intention to play all remaining fixtures within a 56-day time-frame in the summer months, on the assumption those games would be behind closed doors.
Several other leagues across Europe have already taken the decision to end their seasons early with the Dutch leagues null and voided aside from Champions League and Europa League qualification spots but with current standings effectively declared definitive in Belgium and France.
Action in Germany, though, is set to resume next Saturday with both the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 campaigns getting back underway behind closed doors.
Giving his current thoughts on how the English season could best be concluded, Prutton said it was still too soon to decide or map out potential dates.
Prutton told the YEP: “We know where this stands in the grand scheme of things, I find myself repeating that all of the time but I feel it needs to be said.
“We look at the Premier League and Project Restart and we look at what Rick Parry is saying and these people have got to talk about this stuff, it’s their job.
“This is what they get paid for and it’s their responsibility.
“If players are getting tested on a weekly basis to the detriment of the NHS then quite obviously you stop doing that and quite obviously resources get put to where they need to get put.
“If you sat half a dozen people down whether you were a group of journalists or a group of mates or people from different media outlets, I am sure that we’d all have a different view on it.
“I think it’s very much wait and see.
“Everyone is looking over at the Bundesliga with bated breath with what happens with that.
“And in trying to create some sort of analogy for it, it’s almost like waiting for the tide to come in and out and getting frustrated that you can’t change it.
“As humans, we are not utterly powerless but we are very much reacting to what is being thrown our way and that’s from the top down.
“I think it would be too quick this week to say ‘this definitely needs to happen or that definitely needs to happen’ and we will have to wait and see what the government’s plans are at the end of this lockdown spell.
“But the longer this runs and the more that time mitigation runs out, that’s when definitive decisions have to be made and maybe time frames need to be re-thought out.
“To be the people that have got to sit down and thrash this out and find some kind of unilateral agreement on, my God, good luck with that.”