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‘Vehemently opposed’: June 22 return for Championship sparks backlash

QPR say they were informed less than an hour before the announcement while Charlton faces players’ exodus

QPR chief executive Lee Hoos led protests yesterday against the proposed resumption of the English Championship on June 20, saying that the club was “vehemently opposed” to the plan.

After the Premier League announced its June 17 return, the EFL followed suit on Sunday evening with a plan to restart the Championship at about the same time — news that shocked and angered QPR’s top brass.

“I am absolutely stunned by this announcement, as is our director of football Les Ferdinand and our manager Mark Warburton,” Hoops chief executive Hoos said.

“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 players haven’t even returned to full-contact training at this moment and yet they are now expected to be in a position to play at a competitive level in just three weeks’ time.

“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.

“We are absolutely appalled.”

Manager Warburton echoed his chief executive’s comments, saying the plan “beggars belief” when contact training has yet to restart.

“Staggered,” he summed up for talkSPORT. “I think everyone was staggered last night when the news was suddenly announced late evening.

“Little consolation. I know our CEO, who has been outstanding throughout, had no idea. Our medical side had no idea, nor did I.

“We had told the players earlier on a Zoom call that we thought June 27 would be the earliest and now they’re looking a week earlier.

“We haven’t come back until a week after the Premier League and yet we start on the same day. It’s ludicrous.”

He said: “To get this sort of shock news last night, no consultation whatsoever with them, how can that possibly be allowed to happen?

“Safety has got to be the priority. The health and welfare of every player and staff member has to be the priority.

“We’re going too quickly, it’s far too soon. My concerns are very genuine.”

It understood that Stoke are also unhappy that the announcement was made without consultation with clubs.

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Meanwhile, Charlton manager Lee Bowyer says top scorer Lyle Taylor will not play for fear of picking up an injury that would scupper a “life-changing move.”

The relegation-threatened club are among the hardest hit in the Championship’s contracts crisis and Bowyer revealed that Taylor, Chris Solly and Birmingham loanee David Davis do not intend to resume play.

“It’s a difficult one for us,” the Addicks boss said. “We have 15 out of contract — we’ve got six loans and nine of our own contracted players out.

“They finish at the end of June and unfortunately for us three of them players have said that they’re not going to play.”

He said: “Lyle has said that he’s not going to play because of risk of injury.

“Chris Solly the same, he said the same. Then we’ve got Davis … and he says he doesn’t want to come back and play games.”

Bowyer said he believes players should “finish what [they] started.” He said Taylor confessed he wants to play but doubted his own performance if he was worrying about injuries.

But he was more charitable to the EFL’s plan overall than his west London rivals.

“I’ve said from day one, if we’re going to have promotions and relegations you have to play the games that you set out in the start of the season.

“Would I have preferred an extra week’s training? Probably, just to give us that extra week to maybe play another game or two behind closed doors.

“But, yeah, now we’ve been given a date and it’s going to be in our hands and no-one can grumble at that.”

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