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'It's a step-by-step process' - Ashton

City Chief Executive Officer Mark Ashton has spoken to the club about the ongoing hoops which have been jumped through to permit football's safe return.

The EFL has announced that the second tier of English Football will provisionally return over the weekend of June 20th. City have nine games of the scheduled season still to play, five of those at home and four away, though the matches will be played behind closed doors.

Ashton, who sits on the EFL board, welcomed Sunday’s announcement – a week after City were allowed to return to small group training - and spoke exclusively on Robins TV about the developments.

“Yes, it’s good news,” he said. “Baby steps but it’s good to see we now have a provisional date for Championship football to return. We now have some certainty in what has been and continues to be a very uncertain world, but it is a timely boost for so many people.

“We’re really pleased. The players are back in training, albeit social distancing with the protocols that are in place. I’ve seen them training and they look in great shape, they are eager and keen to play and keen to restart the season.

“As I say it’s baby steps. We step through each stage following the Government protocols to make sure we get the game back on and get it on safely and in a sensible manner. We’re getting traction and yes it looks like we will return fairly soon.

“I think it’s been a stage process,” he added, explaining how we got to this point after months of concerns whether or not the season had any hope of resuming. “There was much debate and discussion how we would return to train with Government protocols in place. Those protocols are being stepped through now. The next stage is the return to play protocols and what that looks like.”

Ashton also touched on the fact that supporters will not be permitted to attend matches, however plans are in place and discussions ongoing regarding live streaming.

He said: “It is clear we will be returning to stadiums without supporters and while that will be a very different and frustrating world for many, it is necessary that we follow the protocols and return the game safely.”

He added: “It’s a very different world that we will return to, so we want to make sure supporters have the best opportunity to see all of our games, home and away. We are in discussion with broadcasters. We would like to make sure we stream our games via Robins TV to make sure our fans get as good a matchday experience as they can. Even if they can’t be here, Robins TV will make sure they are here in spirit and get the opportunity to watch the game in the best possible way.”

Watch the full interview:

City’s remaining scheduled Sky Bet Championship matches:

  • Blackburn Rovers (A)
  • Sheffield Wednesday (H)
  • Nottingham Forest (A)
  • Cardiff City (H)
  • Hull City (H)
  • Middlesbrough (A)
  • Stoke City (H)
  • Swansea City (A)
  • Preston North End (H)

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