Football season to start 12 September but behind closed doors initially

Date published: 24 July 2020

The EFL has announced that the 2020/21 Championship, League One and League Two seasons will start on the weekend of 12 & 13 September.

Initially, matches will be played behind closed doors and the aim is then from 1 October to allow spectators in grounds but with reduced capacities.

Fixtures are yet to be scheduled but the season will end as usual in early May 2021, with the Sky Bet Play-Off Finals being played over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May.

It is expected that Dale's players and coaching staff will return to training the week commencing 3 August with COVID-safe procedures.

In a statement, Rochdale AFC chief executive David Bottomley said: "On 17 July we received documentation from the EFL regarding the implementation of a COVID safe plan for stadia.

"Countless hours of work have already gone into planning and preparation for the October date.

"We will be dealing with COVID-safe entrance and exits, a safe seating plan, safe catering plan, safe executive box plan, and so on. This is already an area that will require much expenditure by the club, in order to quite rightly ensure we have a safe environment for all of our supporters to return to. However, it will, initially, mean a vastly reduced capacity, likely to be under that of our average attendance (including away fans). So, we will have a plan that will try to be fair to all our supporters, especially our loyal and wonderful season ticket holders.

"We hope to be launching our 2020/21 season tickets, new kit and a number of other new schemes on Saturday 15 August. The club shop, which is only awaiting a new till system, will open soon with a huge clearance sale, and Rochdale AFC facemasks will be available to purchase in-store as well as online thanks to our friends at ICON Sports.

"Finally, I want to say a big thank you to all the staff at the club, some who have been working throughout lockdown, some recently returning to work, and the majority who are still furloughed."

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