ALMOST two months on from the suspension of the EFL season, this week may bring some clarity over how it will be brought to an end.

Chairman Rick Parry last week said decisions needed to be made in days and called for guidance from the government about whether they could return to play "very, very quickly".

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night announced people in England could have unlimited exercise outside and play sport from Wednesday, it was only with members of the same household.

It would seem to decrease the chances of restarting training immediately.

Football authorities may focus on the advice which said those who could not work from home should return, although the emphasis on continuing social distancing would seem to rule out meaningful group sessions.

In this context, clubs are expected to be given a vote in the next few days about their preferred way to bring the season to an end.

There are five main options.

1: Make the season null and void

This was the choice across grassroots, much of non-league and women's football, where teams will start the 2020/21 campaign in the same divisions as this season.

  • Pros: Given all the games have not been played, this would provide a clean slate and does not put anyone in the game at risk.

As the only way to reasonably get the matches on would be behind closed doors, any method of playing on is already tainted.

There is a precedent - when the Football League was cancelled in 1939 due to the outbreak of the Second World War, the restarted competition in 1946 had teams in the same divisions.

  • Cons: The 1939/40 campaign was though only three games old, whereas this season is about 80 per cent complete.

It could also trigger legal action from clubs such as Leeds United, who were in a strong position to win promotion.

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2: Use a formula to calculate promotion and relegation

  • Pros: This way would prevent the mass expunging of results and given the season is in the latter stages it could be argued the tables had taken shape.

There is also a precedent, with the Rugby Football Union adopting the approach to determine their leagues.

It is again a method which avoids any undue health risk and removes the example of clubs like Southend United and Bolton Wanderers, who were well adrift at the bottom, from being given a free pass.

Also read: Oxford United boss Karl Robinson: We will vote to play on when safe

Oxford United, who sit third, stand to benefit if a weighted points-per-game method is used.

  • Cons: But with only one point separating them and eighth place the prospect of legal action has already been raised from those set to just miss out.

3: Scrap the remaining regular season games, but hang on for play-offs

Pros: With some sides in mid-table having nothing to play for making it clear they would not want to take the risk of playing, it leaves only those battling to go up in action.

This way could see those in automatic promotion spots go up and clubs in the relegation zone go down.

If the normal four-team play-off is used, it could be wrapped up in three games if the two-legged semi-finals are dropped.

That would fit into a week - removing the time pressure felt at the moment to restart - and could be played at a neutral venue, such as St George's Park which has accommodation, to limit the risk of any infection.

  • Cons: Calculating which sides were included in the play-offs is likely to lead to more arguments.

There is also the problem of what happens if players test positive, with the potential of multiple postponements.

4: Restart training within days and hope the situation improves to allow games from next month

  • Pros: The latest advice permits unlimited outdoor exercise and says those who cannot work from home should restart.

It would be possible to do some training, individually at first, and still maintain social distancing.

That allows players to start getting up to speed and in a better position to adapt to playing if the rules are relaxed further.

Herald Series:

  • Oxford United training last summer

Clubs may argue that if some school classes are allowed from next month, how would it be different for football?

  • Cons: Even ignoring the difference between sitting in a classroom and playing a contact sport, there are no guarantees the situation will improve in time to take the next step.

Bringing players back into formal training would mean clubs have to take their squad out of furlough – something they may be reluctant to do if it is not certain there will be games at the end of it.

5: Hold on for as long as it takes to complete the season in full

  • Pros: This way allows for the campaigns to be fulfilled as normal, removing most threats of legal action.

It is also the only option which may allow for fans to attend matches, although there could still be restrictions on capacity.

  • Cons: The weakness of this route is just how long clubs are able to wait without any income.

The EFL have already made it clear player contracts dictate the season has to be concluded by the end of July, so unless there is a blanket arrangement over extensions teams would look very different by the resumption.

United for example could be without their five on-loan players if the restart did not come in the next few weeks, but other teams may welcome the chance to lighten their wage budget as soon as possible.

In those circumstances, it could be argued the sporting integrity had been compromised.

Even if all these hurdles are overcome, there remains one big issue – waiting months does not guarantee complete safety given a vaccine is thought to be 12 months away.