Queens Park Rangers are “vehemently opposed” to the Championship’s proposed restart date of 20 June and have accused the English Football League of failing to canvas opinion from its clubs, with the chief executive, Lee Hoos, suggesting others share their view.
In a statement released on Monday, Hoos said QPR, the manager, Mark Warburton, and director of football, Les Ferdinand, were stunned to learn of the provisional return date. Championship players returned to training on 25 May and are due to resume to full contact training this week, less than three weeks before the proposed restart. Last week the Bristol City head coach, Lee Johnson, predicted it could take up to a fortnight for players to become fully comfortable with tackling.
Hoos said the club’s views had been raised privately with the league. “I have made our feelings known to the EFL and, having spoken with a number of CEOs at other Championship clubs, I am not a lone voice on this matter,” Hoos said. “We are absolutely appalled.”
Championship matches have been suspended since 8 March but last weekend the EFL announced plans to resume the season, including the play-off semi-finals and final. It has also outlined that there are discussions to permit the use of five substitutes and increase matchday squads from 18 to 20 players. Any return, the EFL said, was subject to strict medical protocols and government guidance.
Hoos added: “Incredibly, there has been absolutely no consultation with individual clubs nor with the Championship doctors’ working group by the divisional representatives – or anyone else in the Football League – regarding this matter. On top of that, we were only made aware of the statement 40 minutes before it was made public. Having spoken with Les and Mark, they share my views. We are vehemently opposed to this schedule.”
The EFL has been approached for comment. In a sign that not all clubs agree with QPR’s criticism, the Bristol City chief executive, Mark Ashton, said: “This is an important moment for football and the Championship and no one should underestimate the boost this will give the game, our players, our staff and our supporters. We have all missed football and we can’t wait for that first whistle.”