Erling Haaland: Borussia Dortmund star may join Real Madrid because of one player

Erling Haaland is a Real Madrid transfer target with Zinedine Zidane eager to sign the Borussia Dortmund star, reports say. And it’s claimed he could head to the Bernabeu in order to team up with close friend and rising star Martin Odegaard. The Norway international has flourished on loan at Real Sociedad this season.

Haaland was a relative unknown a year ago but, over the past 12 months, the 19-year-old has established himself as one of the deadliest players on the planet.

He scored 28 goals from 22 games for Red Bull Salzburg before choosing to join Dortmund during the January transfer window.

The teenager has continued his stunning form over in Germany, scoring 13 goals from 12 Bundesliga matches to spark interest from Europe’s elite.

Real are on the lookout for a new striker to replace Karim Benzema, with the France international on the wane.

They’re also expected to lose Luka Jovic this summer. The Serbia international has endured a nightmare first season at the club since arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt in the summer.

And Diario Madrisita claim Real are eager to bring Haaland to the Spanish capital come the end of the season.

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It’s suggested he could choose to move to Spain in order to team up with compatriot Odegaard, who is finally living up to his potential.

Real signed the playmaker back in January 2015, giving the midfielder a contract worth £50,000-a-week despite him being just 15 at the time.

He’s had to work hard in order to realise his potential, suffering setbacks aplenty along the way.

But Odegaard has sparkled on loan this season at Real Sociedad, suggesting he may be able to live up to lofty expectations after all.

The 21-year-old has scored four La Liga goals, while also registering five assists from 23 matches.

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And he’s impressed in the Copa del Rey, too, scoring three times and clocking up three assists from six matches in total.

Norway are hoping that Haaland and Odegaard can spearhead a bright new era for the country.

And Real, it seems, could have both players in Zidane’s squad by this time next year.

They have, however, been scrutinised by former Haaland coach Alf Ingve Berntsen for missing out on Haaland when he was available in January.

And Berntsen thinks the teenage talent would be the ideal fit for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, saying: “I’m a fan of Liverpool, so of course I would like to see him play for them.

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“English football is by far the most popular in Norway.

“And most young Norwegian footballers dream of playing in the Premier League, as did Erling’s father (former Leeds and Manchester City midfielder Alf Inge Haaland).

“I sincerely believe that he has the skills to play at such a club.

“I don’t know what the strategies of Real Madrid, Manchester United or the other big clubs are with regard to Erling. But if I had been responsible for the six to eight best clubs in the world, I would have bought him immediately.

“He is already very good, he has shown a great personality, he scores a lot of goals whatever the level of the opponents, and he is only 19 years old.

“He will continue to develop and in two years he will be one of the best.”

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Erling Braut Haaland compared to Real Madrid icon Ronaldo for three reasons

Erling Braut Haaland has the same style of play as Brazilian icon Ronaldo, but it is too early to start believing the Norwegian striker is the Real Madrid hero’s heir. That’s the opinion of former Barcelona forward Rivaldo.

Haaland marked his return to action last weekend with a bang as he scored the first goal in Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 win over Schalke.

The Norwegian star has been on fire this season, and has now bagged ten goals in nine Bundesliga games.

His form has seen him linked with a move to Madrid this summer, as the Spanish giants are reportedly desperate to sign him.

As a result of his sudden emergence as one of Europe’s leading forwards, he has now been compared with one of Madrid’s all-time best strikers; Ronaldo.

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The Brazilian icon is considered to be one of the best strikers of all time, and scored 83 goals in 127 games for Madrid.

And Rivaldo thinks Haaland plays in the same way as Ronaldo.

He explained in his Betfair column that the two strikers share the same style of play in front of goal, and there are similarities between the two.

He wrote that he thinks Haaland is quick, fearless and prolific in front of goal, just like Ronaldo was during his playing days.

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Rivaldo did, however, express that it is too early in Haaland’s career to think he will become as successful as the ex-Madrid star was.

“Erling Haaland scored a great goal last weekend and it’s well known how much of a bright future he has ahead of him,” he wrote.

“People have already been speaking a lot about how good he is and they will continue to do so.

“I’m lost for words with him, as a striker it’s important for him to score goals and he is doing that.

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“The goal Haaland scored against Schalke, let me tell you, was not easy to do.

“The ball was bouncing around as it came in, you have to know how to hit it the right way, sometimes in that situation the ball can jump off your foot and make you look stupid, but he put just the right pressure on the ball and had his foot at the perfect angle so it could go straight into the net.

“Some people are already comparing Haaland’s style to Ronaldo Nazario and there might be some similarities as Haaland, as he’s quick, fearless and scores a lot, but it’s too early to start thinking he will be Ronaldo’s successor.”

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No plans to change Champions League qualification in wake of coronavirus, Uefa claim

Uefa has insisted it is not thinking about amending any qualification for the Champions League.

The body is monitoring the situation, with the coronavirus pandemic having stopped football across the world.

A statement read: “Uefa has never considered depriving domestic champions of their genuine right to try to achieve qualification through on-pitch performance for the Uefa Champions League Group Stage.

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“Uefa wishes to clarify that it is currently simply monitoring the evolution of the situation and any potential impact on the format of qualifying rounds for next year’s club competitions.

“To date, no specific options have been developed for the format of qualification for European club competitions.”

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Man City starlet at centre of transfer tug of war between European giants

Manchester City starlet Charlie McNeil has found himself at the centre of a transfer tug-of-war between two of European football's biggest clubs.

The Under-16 England international looks set to leave the Etihad with Juventus and RB Leipzig fighting out an increasingly-tense battle for him.

McNeil, 16, is regarded as being the next off the production line from the club's academy, and has just broken into the Three Lions' junior ranks.

But he is feeling increasingly-undervalued by the hierarchy at Manchester City and that has sparked a bidding war from the continent.

Leipzig have a long-standing interest in young English talent and have followed an initial £15m swoop for Nottingham Forest's Oliver Burke back in 2016 with other loan deals for Everton's Ademola Lookman and Arsenal's Emile Smith-Rowe.

While Juventus have been alerted to the success of players such as Jadon Sancho who also quit Manchester City and is currently at the centre of a proposed £100m move to Manchester United following a successful spell with Borussia Dortmund.

Last season's Premier League champions will be under increasing pressure to retain McNeil's services.

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Soccer leagues hope to resume in May; NHL cops hit

La Liga chief Javier Tebas believes European leagues should be able to restart by mid-May and the season can be completed now the European Championship has been postponed due to coronavirus.

“In mid-May we should be able to be back on with all European competitions. All of them. Of course, it depends on how the pandemic evolves,” Tebas told Spanish newspaper Marca on Wednesday.

“It could even be before then, but this is the date that we are working on as a latest in order to start up again.”

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When could football return to the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona? Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Regarding whether matches will be played behind closed doors, he added: “All depends on the health authorities in each individual country. We are talking about the schedules of more than 30 league seasons. It all has to be done together.”

Tebas said the Euro 2020 postponement, which was announced by UEFA on Tuesday, means the club season should be able to finish – and resume again next term – on time.

“We don’t want to change any seasons; we haven’t thought about doing that. In this situation, the scenarios we are considering are all short term,” he said. “If we can’t sort out the short-term then, unfortunately, we aren’t going to have time to sort out anything more long-term. We aren’t allowing that to enter our minds.” Tebas also confirmed that La Liga had sent coronavirus test kits to all of its clubs so players can be tested.

On Wednesday, Real Valladolid said they had refused the tests on the grounds that other people were more needy, while Alaves announced 15 positive cases. Tebas would not be drawn on each club’s decision.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has opened the doors to a hotel located on Chelsea’s home ground. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

CHELSEA OPENS DOORS TO LONDON’S MEDICAL WORKERS

Premier League team Chelsea is making a hotel located on the grounds of its Stamford Bridge stadium available free of charge for London’s medical workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

The club says Russian owner Roman Abramovich will cover the costs of providing the accommodation for staff of the National Health Service who “will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes.” Chelsea says the offer is initially for a two-month period and will be reconsidered depending on circumstances.

The entire hotel will be given up for medical workers if necessary.

The Coronaviris crisis has now hit the NHL. Picture: APSource:AP

FIRST NHL PLAYER TESTS POSITIVE

An unnamed Ottawa Senators player has become the first National Hockey League player to test positive for the coronavirus COVID-19, the club announced late Tuesday.

The player is in isolation after displaying mild symptoms, the Senators said in a posting on their website.

“The Ottawa Senators are in the process of notifying anyone who has had known close contact with the athlete and are working with our team doctors and public health officials,” the club said in a statement.

“As a result of this positive case, all members of the Ottawa Senators are requested to remain isolated, to monitor their health and seek advice from our team medical staff.”

The NHL put its season on hold last week, agreeing to follow health officials’ recommendations that gatherings of 50 or more people be cancelled for the next two months.

“The health of our players, fans, and community remains our highest priority,” the Senators said.

“We will continue to do everything we can to help ensure our players, staff, fans and the greater community remain safe and healthy during this time of uncertainty due to the spread of the coronavirus.”

There will be empty stands at Philippe Chatrier court in Roland Garros this year. Picture; AFPSource:AFP

ATP, WTA EXTEND VIRUS SUSPENSION UNTIL JUNE

The ATP and WTA have extended the suspension of their tours until June 7, the two tennis bodies said in a joint statement on Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to shred the sporting calendar.

The clay court season “will not be held as scheduled” due to the suspension, the organising bodies of the men’s and women’s tours said.

“The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to professional tennis demand greater collaboration than ever from everyone in the tennis community,” the associations said.

“We are assessing all options related to preserving and maximising the tennis calendar.”

The tours had said last week they would suspend play until late April or early May.

The tournaments affected by the tours’ suspensions include combined men’s and women’s events in Madrid and Rome.

Also being scrapped are upcoming WTA tournaments in Strasbourg, France, and Rabat, Morocco, along with ATP events in Munich; Estoril, Portugal; Geneva; and Lyon, France.

Both tours also said that their rankings will be frozen “until further notice.” The International Tennis Federation also put a halt to its lower-tier events until June 7.

Richard Carapaz celebrates a victory during last year’s Giro. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

ICU HOPEFUL GIRO DREAMS NOT DEAD

The president of the International Cycling Union hopes the Giro d’Italia and other races postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak can go ahead later this year.

Four one-day classic races to be held next month were cancelled this week. The Paris-Roubaix cobblestone race, the Fleche Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Amstel Gold race have all been called off.

The Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo were already postponed along with the Giro, which was to start on May 9.

UCI president David Lappartient told French TV on Wednesday that he has “good hope” several races can still go ahead.

“In the coming days and weeks we will work on remodelling the calendar, depending on the evolution of the epidemic,” Lappartient told France TV.

“The first possibility is to reprogram the monuments of cycling (the classics) for the (European) autumn. For that we have the possibility of pushing back the end of the season by two weeks to October 31.”

Lappartient said he is consulting with Italian race organiser RCS about holding the Giro later in the year.

The Giro would not start as scheduled from Hungary, he added, and the route may be redesigned and shorter.

It was set to be the first time a Grand Tour visited Hungary, with the capital city of Budapest holding a stage starting from Heroes’ Square.

“The Giro is obviously part of our priorities and we have good hope to see it taking place,” Lappartient said.

“With regards to the Tour (de France), for now nothing changes.”

ASO has yet to announce a decision on the three-week Tour, which is set to start in Nice on June 27.

Originally published asSoccer leagues hope to resume in May; NHL cops hit

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Euro 2020: Denmark Football Union reaches UEFA extension over host city Copenhagen

The Danish Football Union has agreed an extension to its deadline with UEFA to determine whether it can host its four Euro 2020 matches as planned next year.

Copenhagen, one of 12 host cities selected for the delayed tournament, now set to run from 11 June to 11 July 2021, is also due to host the start of the Tour de France next summer.

The Danish football authorities now have until May 8 to determine whether it can fulfil its allocated fixtures in the 24-team tournament pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The DBU has told Sky Sports News: “The City of Copenhagen and DBU are still working intensively to create solutions to make room for the European Championships in June 2021.

“Negotiations are progressing positively.”

FC Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium is due to host Group B games (Denmark vs Finland, Denmark vs Belgium and Russia vs Denmark) as well as a last-16 tie.

“To hold the European Championships in Copenhagen is an historic opportunity, and at DBU we will do everything to make it happen,” said DBU president Jesper Møller, who told Danish media at the weekend there was a “50/50 chance” of being able to host the matches.

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Trevor Cherry death: Former Leeds United and England defender dies ‘suddenly and unexpectedly, aged 72

Former England defender Trevor Cherry has died at the age of 72, his former club Leeds United have announced.

Cherry, who began his career with hometown club Huddersfield and also later played for and managed Bradford, earned 27 caps for England and captained the national side in his penultimate appearance.

“Leeds United are shocked and deeply saddened by the news that club legend Trevor Cherry has passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 72,” Leeds said in a statement.

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Cherry’s death comes less than two weeks after the passing of his former Leeds team-mate Norman Hunter.

Born in Huddersfield, Cherry came through the ranks with his hometown club but moved to Elland Road for £100,000 in 1972 after Town were relegated from the First Division.

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Part of the Leeds squad that won the title in 1973/74, Cherry helped them to the European Cup final in 1975 and took the captain’s armband in 1976, the same year that he made his England debut in a match against Wales.

Leeds’ statement added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Trevor’s wife Sue, sons Darren and Ian, daughter Danielle and his five grandchildren at this difficult time.”

Bradford said the club were “mourning the loss” of Cherry while Huddersfield described him as “an inspiration to many”.

The Terriers added about their former player and director: “His name will always be written in Huddersfield Town folklore.”

A tweet from the official England account read: “We are deeply saddened by the news that Trevor Cherry, who won 27 caps for the #ThreeLions between 1976 and 1980, has passed away.

“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and former clubs: LUFC, htafc and @officialbantams.”

Cherry’s former England team-mate Phil Thompson wrote: “Another sad loss to football, many great England trips together rest in peace Trev”.

Current Leeds captain Liam Cooper wrote: “Our thoughts are with Trevor’s family at this sad time. Heaven has gained another Leeds United Legend. May you Rest in Paradise”.

PA

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Wright-Phillips: I was 'emotionally broken' after joining Chelsea

‘On the way down to London, I cried like I was 12′: Shaun Wright-Phillips admits he was left ’emotionally broken’ after joining Chelsea from Manchester City… and reveals he had previously snubbed his dad’s club Arsenal to make the move

  • Shaun Wright-Phillips joined Chelsea from Manchester City for £21m in 2005
  • Move came as a shock to the winger who thought he would spend career at City
  • The former England international stated Jose Mourinho was ‘a revelation’ to him
  • He claims he turned down move to his father Ian Wright’s former club Arsenal 

Shaun Wright-Phillips has admitted he planned to spend his whole career at Manchester City before he was caught off guard in being sold to Chelsea.

The forward was one of England’s rising young stars at the time of the 2005 move that cost Jose Mourinho’s newly crowned Premier League champions £21million.

Despite a series of excellent showings for City that had helped him force a way into the England side, Wright-Phillips – the son of legendary Arsenal striker Ian Wright – admitted he though his sale to Chelsea was because City no longer wanted him.

Shaun Wright-Phillips joined Chelsea from Manchester City for £21million in 2005


Wright-Phillips previously came through the Manchester City ranks, becoming a key player

‘Maybe I was a little naive, but I thought I’d be at City for my whole career, he told FourFourTwo.’ Then Chelsea made a bid for me and City said they were accepting it.

‘I took it as, “OK, obviously you don’t want me at the club any more”. On the way down to London, I cried like I was 12. I cried for an hour – I was emotionally broken. A few months later, I found out the truth behind what happened: City had no choice but to sell me, because they were possibly about to go into administration or something along those lines. Chelsea was a new chapter in my life.

‘I loved it there and the supporters were tremendous with me. I had some tough times, but they always cheered for me.’

Despite being rotated in and out of the first-team by Jose Mourinho during his time at the Blues, he was adamant he was given a fair opportunity to impress at Stamford Bridge

The new issue of FourFourTwo is out on Wednesday, April 29

Wright-Phillips was just 23-years-old at the time of the move and he went on to play 125 games for the Blues over the next five years, winning the Premier League and the FA Cup.

However he admitted he struggled to adapt to not being the key player in the side like he was at City as he was often rotated in and out of the first team.

Despite this he was full of praise for his first Blues manager in Mourinho, and insisted he was offered opportunities to impress when asked if he was given a fair chance at Stamford Bridge by the current Tottenham Hotspur boss.

‘Yes, I did. Mourinho was a revelation for me,’ he added. ‘He was so premeditated in so many ways. We played Spurs in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and on the Thursday before the game he said, “This is the team, but be ready: if we’re losing, I’ll bring you on, we’re going to draw, and then we’ll go to White Hart Lane and win the replay.” That’s exactly what happened. I scored in the replay, too.’

Wright-Phillips admitted he had previously snubbed Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger (left) before deciding to join Mourinho at Chelsea

Before joining Chelsea, Wright-Phillips claimed there was also interest from Arsenal, but that Arsene Wenger’s uncertainty in only wanting to sign him in January meant he quickly snubbed the option to move to Highbury.

Wright-Phillips continued: ‘They came in for me at the same time as Chelsea, but Arsene Wenger wanted to wait until January. I’ve always been brought up to strike while the iron’s hot, because you never know what’s going to happen a week later.

‘If I’d got injured, I might have missed both opportunities. Dad told me, “Son, of course I’d love it if you played for Arsenal, but we’ve got to take you where you fit best.” We didn’t have to make a choice – Arsene made the decision for us.’ 

This month’s FourFourTwo features the 100 Greatest Managers Ever, and is available to buy in shops and online from Wednesday, April 29. Also in this month’s issue, the inside story of Blackburn’s title win 20 years ago and The Curlett Cup – Liverpool’s forgotten trophy. For an exclusive MailOnline subscription offer, which includes three issues of FourFourTwo for £3 and free download, go to: https://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/mailonline/




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Fans demand Premier League copies Dutch FA and VOID season stopping Liverpool title win

Liverpool supporters have been left sweating after the Dutch FA decided to terminate the Eredivisie season. It means there will be no champion or promotion and relegation, as COVID-19 continues to call the shots when it comes to the return of sport.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made the decision to ban professional football until September while the nation combats the coronavirus crisis.

It’s news that means Ajax will be denied the title, despite topping the current table.

The news is tough on fellow contenders AZ Alkmaar, who were breathing down Ajax’s necks and level on points.

Perhaps the biggest winner though is Alan Pardew.

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The former Crystal Palace and Newcastle boss is currently in charge of ADO Den Haag.

ADO are seven points adrift in the relegation zone but will stay up ahead of next season.

It could see Pardew extend his stay in Holland, where he may receive a full pre-season with the team.

If a similar ruling was to be made in England, it would of course mean Liverpool were denied the Premier League title.

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The Reds are 25 points clear of Manchester City in second and for that reasons the Reds have a right to feel hard done by if they miss out on the title.

Given the severity of the situation in England, many fans on Twitter feel it would only be right if the FA terminate the season.

“Same thing should happen with the Premier League,” one fan wrote in response to the Eredivisie’s announcement.

Another added: “Imagine the scenes if Liverpool doesn’t win the title.”

A third wrote: “@premierleague your turn.”

A fourth said: “Eredivisie season annulled, which gives us hope the Premier League might also be cancelled and we will all be saved the terror of a Liverpool title win.”

While another posted: “Well done Eredivisie.

Premier League what say ye?..”

The Premier League have continuously reiterated that their desire is to complete the season when it is safe to do so.

The Bundesliga is the first major league which will return behind closed doors at the beginning of May.

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EFL salary cap must follow coronavirus measures to avoid Bury fiasco repeat – NEIL SQUIRES

Wayne Rooney signed up to be a player and coach at Derby County not a shop steward but that is the position he finds himself in as the club and squad haggle over pay. The bosses want to defer 50 per cent of the players’ wages until the Championship is up and running again, Rooney and the workforce are willing to go to 25 per cent.

These are deferrals not cuts. No jam today but jam tomorrow when normal service is resumed.

This is a patch-up operation for the current crisis. The reality is that in English football’s aspirational but dysfunctional second tier the jam and the jar do not come close to matching even in normal times.

Derby spent 161 per cent of their income in wages in their last published accounts; Reading 226 per cent.

Championship clubs as a whole are expected to make a combined trading loss of more than £600m in 2018/19 chasing the holy grail of Premier League football.

Spending is insanely high given what comes back in which is why the tentative steps taken towards the implementation of a salary cap in League One and League Two next season should extend to the Championship.

The lower-league owners have been edging towards a mandatory wage ceiling for some time but the present shutdown has served to concentrate minds.

Reports this week suggest they are close to an agreement.

Players will moan about wage cuts, agents will kick off about restraint of trade but this is the radical reboot the EFL needs. The current crisis creates the validation to go for it.

The cap would need to be fixed right level to bite, not simply at the level of the highest spenders in each division. The numbers that are being talked about – £3.6m per club in League One and £2m if League Two – are viable.

It would also need to be strongly policed with stinging penalties for evasion. It is naïve to assume supine compliance amongst some of the rogues who use football clubs as their own ego massaging couches.

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But if it could be put in place football would have a system which would enable it to move away from a hand-to-mouth existence and protect the futures of clubs crucial to the communities they serve. No-one wants another Bury, do they?

The Championship would stand to benefit to an even greater extent from a cap as the flagbearers for casino economics in English football.

The spin-off would be that a level playing field when it comes to wages would also create more even, and by definition, more exciting leagues.

Interestingly, Rooney recently spoke out against the salary cap in reference to Major League Soccer in the United States where wage control is the norm across sports.

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He felt football/soccer in the US is handcuffed by the cap when it comes to competing with European leagues for players.

For the same competitive reasons, unless every top European league sets the same ceiling, that is why the Premier League will never go down the cap route here.

But this is not an argument about the elite level with its eye-watering income streams. This is about the crumbling blocks of the pyramid below.

The EFL is in serious financial trouble as a result of the virus. Clubs could go to the wall unless action is taken. That action should take care of the long term as well as combat the nightmare of now.

For the Championship downwards, the cap fits. They should wear it.

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