THE EFL season has to be wrapped up by the end of July, chairman Rick Parry has told the government.

Parry was giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee on Tuesday about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on sport.

The EFL had previously suggested the remaining fixtures could be played within a 56-day period.

But with Parry saying issues around player contracts meant July 31 was the ultimate deadline, the eight-week period needed to fit in the fixtures would have to start in the first weekend in June.

The latest advice to clubs is they cannot start training until at least May 16, but any lifting on that restriction is reliant on the government relaxing the lockdown.

Parry said: "Our end date, realistically, is July 31, because of the situation with players' contracts. We can't go beyond July.

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"Players have been furloughed, staff have been furloughed, to expect our smaller clubs to come in and train now, to forego the furlough, only to find out in a month's time they can't play would be a complete mess.

"We need to be making decisions in days, so what we need is guidance for a return to play and we need that very, very quickly."

Asked in a worst-case scenario how many clubs might go out of business, Parry said: "That's a difficult one to answer.

"We would like to emerge stronger and leaner, with a proper reset post-Covid. We are heading for a financial hole of £200m by the end of September.

"Clubs are stacking up creditors and there are a great deal of uncertainties."

When asked whether it would be worth the risk to return, Parry said: "That is the absolutely key question we need to address in the coming days.

"The component we need is what do we need to do in order to comply with Government guidelines, what are those Government guidelines going to be, what are the costs of testing programmes and additional hygiene requirements.

"Then the decision has got to be taken on whether it is worth it, is it feasible?"