Mark Jenkins: West Brom want to play

Chief executive Mark Jenkins says Albion are fully behind proposals to finish the 2019/20 campaign on the pitch.

Mark Jenkins Chief Executive of West Bromwich Albion.
Mark Jenkins Chief Executive of West Bromwich Albion.

Last week, the EFL put forward a draft proposal for how the season could end if the coronavirus pandemic cuts it short.

Football chiefs proposed the Championship, League One or League Two could be curtailed if 51 per cent of clubs vote in favour.

That would see divisions settled with an unweighed points system – meaning Albion and Leeds would win automatic promotion to the Premier League.

It has not yet been decided if that vote will take place.

But Jenkins – who has taken a 100 per cent pay cut to help steer Albion through the coronavirus crisis – says the Baggies would rather win promotion on the pitch than see the season curtailed.

“We certainly welcome the clarity the EFL have now provided as to its future intentions in terms of resolving the conclusion of the 2019/20 season," Jenkins said in a statement.

“However, let me say at the outset that West Bromwich Albion’s position in this remains the same now as it was back when fixtures were halted – the club is resolutely behind finishing the campaign, if it is at all possible, where it belongs and that is on the pitch.

“We take comfort that this is also the apparent wish of all the governing bodies and the majority of our fellow Championship clubs.

“From the moment that the path was cleared for the players to return to training, albeit in a regulated and strictly-controlled format, our mindset has been focused solely on being in the best possible shape, physically and mentally, to complete the remaining nine league fixtures.

“Up to the point of the lockdown, we had enjoyed an excellent season from Slaven and the players and we all remain firmly behind them and their ability to finish off the job in a manner which would befit an exceptional and unique campaign.

“To that end, we are gearing up to be ready to stage games behind closed doors at The Hawthorns while observing all anticipated safety protocols.

“As Slaven has made clear, the players have applied themselves to their individual training programmes diligently and returned to training in excellent shape, mentally and physically, for the challenges ahead.

"We will continue to do everything we can in challenging circumstances to support their efforts.”

In the statement, Albion also confirmed they and their fellow Championship clubs will vote later this week to ratify the Return to Training Protocols issued on Friday by the EFL.

The Baggies have been able to train in groups of four or five whilst adhering to social distancing rules from today.

A vote will be held this week however to set a date for when full-contact training can resume.

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