Sheffield Wednesday's season restart: Everything we know so far about proposed return of the Championship
The EFL announced on Sunday night the provisional date for the return of the Championship, in what will be three months since the shutdown due to the Covid-29 pandemic.
Off the back of that news, here’s everything we know so far and what it means to Sheffield Wednesday and Owls fans…
SO WHEN IS THE CHAMPIONSHIP COMING BACK?
The EFL have pencilled-in a return date of June 20 for the Championship alone. That will go alongside the full Premier League comeback, with two top flight games taking place on the previous Wednesday night.
IS THIS A DEFINITE DATE?
No, simply. The EFL hammered home the point that this was very much a provisional date and “is subject to the strict proviso that all safety requirements and Government guidance is met; and that Clubs receive clearance from their local authorities in order to stage matches at their home grounds.”
ARE WEDNESDAY ABLE TO PLAY AT HILLSBOROUGH?
It appears so at this stage. The EFL released a statement on Friday, which said: "It remains our intention to play all remaining League matches at Clubs' home grounds as long as they comply with the relevant Government guidance. We will only seek to move matches if they are not permitted by the relevant local authority, following any representations from the local police force."
WHO WILL SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY PLAY IF IT GETS THE GO-AHEAD?
While there has been no official guidance on this so far, we are working on the presumption that the fixtures schedule remains the same. When football was shut down on March 13, Wednesday were due to play Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough and that should remain the case. However, the EFL have indicated that they remain in talks with broadcast partner Sky Sports on a number of issues. As things stand, Wednesday will be playing Forest on the weekend of June 20. Wednesday have nine matches still to play: Nottingham Forest (H), Bristol City (A), West Brom (H), Swansea (A), Preston (H), QPR (A), Huddersfield (H), Fulham (A), Middlesbrough (H).
HAVE ANY WEDNESDAY PLAYERS TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 SO FAR?
It is understood that aside from Sam Winnall, who revealed back in early April that he had tested positive for Covid-19, there have been no further instances in the Owls camp. The results of the latest tests on Saturday night revealed that 10 players or members of staff from eight clubs tested positive. There were over 1,000 tests carried out.
WILL THE PLAYERS BE READY?
They returned to something close to full training last week, with Barry Bannan equating it to having another pre-season. Players had all been given training programmes to work through during lockdown. The talk among many pundits was that players would need somewhere between three and six weeks of full training before being able to play in matches. If things go to plan, they should have around five weeks under their belts.
WILL I BE ABLE TO WATCH THEM?
Well, you won’t be allowed in the ground. All matches will be played behind closed doors.
SO CAN I WATCH IT ON TV?
As already stated, the EFL remain in talks with Sky Sports regarding the broadcasting of fixtures. The iFollow streaming service will also be used and at present we don’t know if there will be a charge to take up subscription or if they will be streamed for free on that platform.
WHAT IF YOU HAVE A SEASON TICKET?
The last communication The Star had with Sheffield Wednesday on this matter, it was indicated that the club were awaiting guidance from the EFL on the appropriate steps that could and should be taken.
WILL THERE BE ANY OTHER CHANGES?
Yes, there will be more substitutions. Teams will be allowed five subs but, so as not to drag out time, they will only be allowed three opportunities to change. The matchday squad will also go up from 18 to 20.
WHEN IS THE SEASON DUE TO FINISH?
The Play-Off Final will bring the curtain down on the campaign, with July 30 the scheduled date, give or take a day or two, according to the EFL. It will roughly run in line with the Premier League.
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