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League One restart ‘threatened by strike action’ over cost of virus testing

PUBLISHED: 11:22 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:22 20 July 2020

Ipswich Town will once again be in League One next season. Picture: PA

Ipswich Town will once again be in League One next season. Picture: PA

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The proposed League One restart in September is said to be under threat due to clubs considering strike action due to the ongoing cost of coronavirus testing.

The EFL and its clubs are understood to be working towards a September 12 restart date at League One level, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week raising the potential for small crowds to return to stadiums in October.

Any restart will require clubs to undergo – and fund – extensive coronavirus testing, with The Athletic reporting clubs in Leagues One and Two could refuse to play due to the cost, should these rules not change.

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It is hoped updated government guidance in the coming weeks could reduce the need for testing, and as a result the cost, while Peterborough co-owner Darragh MacAnthony has led calls for the EFL to find a more cost-effective way to implement the testing procedure.

The Athletic report names the Blues as one of around a dozen clubs willing to strike if the testing procedure is not dropped. While Ipswich are hopeful the protocol will be reduced, any suggestion they would not be willing to play unless that is the case is understood to be wide of the mark.

MORE: ‘We’re excited to get back training again’ - Lambert on Blues’ return to Playford Road

Ipswich were one of only four clubs who voted to complete the 2019/20 season on the pitch and are currently in the process of implementing their testing regime at their Playford Road training base in preparations for the squad’s return to training later this week.

All players and staff are required to have tested negative for coronavirus in the 48 hours prior to attending training, with each individual test costing upwards of £125 each. That means an outlay in the region of £40,000 a month for the Town first-team, even before the Under 23 squad and youth teams are taken into account. There is still no fixed date for their return.


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