The EFL have written to Middlesbrough and Sunderland to inform them that the season is expected to be finished in a 56-day period – with the idea that all games will be behind closed doors.

And clubs have been told to send their players away on holiday now, before training resumes on May 16 "at the earliest": a date that is likely to change depending on Government advice.

That means the divisions are set to restart in early June, with the outcomes decided – play-offs included - within 56 days, which means a 113 matches being played to complete the season by August.

The letter has been signed off by Rick Parry, the EFL chairman.

It includes: “I do believe it is important to reiterate that our primary objective remains to conclude the 2019/20 season when it is safe to resume playing and the options for a return are being kept under constant review.

“As confirmed last Friday, EFL matches are currently postponed indefinitely and the EFL Board today determined that, to provide a level of certainty, Clubs should be advised not to recommence any training activity with players until 16 May at the earliest.

“Whenever the decision is taken that is safe to resume, we currently estimate that the League will require approximately 56 days to complete the outstanding matches in the season (including Play-Offs) and we are committed to ensuring that Clubs are provided an appropriate notice period to ensure you are able to prepare operationally given the scale and impact of the postponements in place.

“How and when we return (including training) is clearly subject to change and any decisions will be taken in conjunction with the Government and relevant health authorities. Clearly, we are in a position whereby the 2019/20 campaign will be extended, but still remain hopeful of a conclusion in the summer months.

“The EFL Board is currently working on the basis that the end-of-season Play-Offs will take place across all three divisions as normal with two-legged Semi-Finals and a Final, although no decision has been taken on the likely venue as it will depend on the circumstances at play at the time.

“It is our working assumption at this stage that matches will be played behind closed doors when we eventually return and as part of our contingency planning we are absolutely mindful of the need to try and mitigate the cost of this to Clubs as best we can. As time goes on, we will provide more information in respect of our thoughts around this scenario.’’

It adds: “Looking more long-term, the EFL must remain mindful of the implications that the extension of this season may have on the commencement of the 2020/21 campaign, although we will ensure there is a suitable break between the two, so as to allow Clubs and staff sufficient time to regroup and prepare accordingly.

“It is inevitable that the game takes a back seat as the country tackles the challenges posed by the outbreak, and I would like to place on record my thanks to all Clubs for their efforts in using their platforms to provide great resource and support to notable causes in their local communities, and long may that continue. Many families are coming to terms with the tragic loss of life of loved ones as the virus continues to take innocent lives and the thoughts of the League remain firmly focused on those affected in such circumstances.’’