Coronavirus: Teams will treat condensed season 'like the World Cup', says Bristol City manager

Bristol City manager Lee Johnson
Bristol City manager Lee Johnson

Football clubs could treat a condensed end to the season “like a World Cup”, says Bristol City manager Lee Johnson.

A letter sent to all 71 EFL clubs by chairman Rick Parry this week said the season could be completed in 56 days.

Johnson suggested teams could isolate together if plans to finish the campaign get the go-ahead.

“If the country is not ready to mix and football is allowed to go ahead, maybe we take over a hotel for a month and we train there," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“It could be a tournament-type mentality. It will be dramatic, that’s for sure,” he added.

The EFL is hopeful the campaign can finish in the summer, but there is no indication when it might begin again.

Johnson is planning on having his squad back in training in May but says that the players will need a month as a mini pre-season before they can play again.

Bristol City are a point outside of the play-off places as it stands, with nine matches left of the regular season.

“The players have had an extended period on a very strict fitness regime, running on their own, and that’s very difficult to maintain when there’s no light at the end of the tunnel,“ Johnson said.

“The minute we can get some concrete timings on a return it will be easy for us to plan. It won't be a huge problem, the boys will be rested and physically these players are fine.

“When we have defined details we have been promised at least a three-week pre-season period and the players will need that.”

Former England international Jermaine Jenas says he can see teams training and playing games from hotels - but says that could cause issues as well.

“The level of care that needs to go back into how we do this - it has to be done in a smart way that works for everybody,” Jenas said.

“I can see that happening, teams going into a hotel. If you send players into a hotel for 60 days to complete a season that causes problems as well, mentally.

“But we have come on a lot. There would have been a time when it would have been ‘get out there and get back playing'.”

Former Stoke and Aston Villa midfielder Glenn Whelan - now playing at League One side Fleetwood - says players will be happy to accept a packed schedule in order to get the season finished but the issue of contracts needs to be sorted.

“It’s going to be tough, a lot of games in a short amount of time but we will take it to finish the season as long as everyone is safe,” Whelan told 5 Live.

“If you look at the period around Christmas and Easter you are playing every two or three days, so it can be done.

“I have been lucky to have a good career and I have looked after myself financially. If I had to play for six weeks after my contract ends at the end of June without being paid it wouldn’t be a problem.

"It’s alright for me to say that but we have young lads who have just bought their first house, have a car on finance and we have to look after them first and foremost.”

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC