The English Football League (EFL) has revealed the latest round of coronavirus tests carried out across Championship clubs produced three further positive results.

A total of 1,030 players and staff members from England's second tier were tested over the course of a 72-hour period between Monday and Wednesday.

The results were announced on Thursday, with the three positive tests coming from two clubs.

Fulham confirmed two of the positive tests were from their players, who will now self-isolate as per EFL regulations.

"After the second round of league-wide testing for COVID-19 completed by Fulham FC players and staff this week at the club's training facility, we can confirm that two players have tested positive for Coronavirus," read a club statement.

"Both players, who shall remain unnamed due to medical confidentiality, are now self-isolating in line with league and government guidance."

Hull City, who had the only two positive cases in the previous round of testing, confirmed they did not have any this time around.

"Hull City can confirm that none of its players or staff are included in the three new positive results," the Tigers said.

"The two individuals who tested positive in the first round of testing last week continue to self-isolate at home as per government and EFL guidelines."

Only players who have tested negative are permitted to enter training grounds.

Championship football remains on hold due to the pandemic and no fixtures have been played in the 2019-20 season since March 8.

Saracens have signed Wales scrum-half Aled Davies on a three-year deal.

Davies' international career appears to be over after he opted to leave the Ospreys to join the European and Premiership champions.

The 27-year-old playmaker will not be able play for his country due to the 60-cap eligibility rule and is instead heading for the Championship after Sarries were consigned to relegation due to salary-cap breaches.

Davies said: "It's a great opportunity for me at a massive club. It's a massive honour to come here and I can't wait to get started.

"It seems like there is a good team and family ethos around the club which is very attractive for me and my family.

"I'm looking forward to putting my stamp on things and making an impact, hopefully."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: "Aled is an experienced, talented player and we are delighted to welcome both him and his family to Saracens.

"He is driven to take his game to new levels and we are excited he has chosen to do that at Saracens."

Davies has won 20 caps for Wales, with his last appearance coming against Uruguay in the Rugby World Cup last October.

Hull City have confirmed two positive tests for coronavirus at the Championship club.

The English Football League (EFL) on Sunday said there were two positive cases out of the 1,014 COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff at Championship clubs.

Hull later announced both individuals, who have not been named, came from the struggling East Yorkshire club and will self-isolate for a week before being tested for a second time.

A club statement said: "Hull City can confirm that two people have tested positive for COVID-19 following the first round of testing at the training ground.

"Medical confidentiality means the names will not be disclosed, and the club asks for this to be respected.

"The duo, who are both asymptomatic and feeling no ill effects, will now self-isolate for seven days – in line with the protocols set out in EFL guidelines – before being tested again at a later date.

"The club will continue to liaise closely with the affected personnel and will make no further comment."

According to the Daily Telegraph, Hull have written to EFL chairman Rick Parry and the other 23 clubs in the Championship to express fears over the season potentially resuming next month.

Championship teams are preparing to resume training from Monday, albeit while following specific protocols laid down by league organisers.

It is unclear if the Championship campaign will resume. No fixtures have been played since March 8, with Hull reportedly the first second-tier club to outline a belief that it is too risky to get the action under way again.

The English Football League (EFL) has revealed two positive results following coronavirus tests carried out across all 24 Championship clubs. 

A total of 1,014 players and staff members from England's second tier were tested over the course of a 72-hour period as the 2019-20 season remains on hold due to the pandemic. 

The two unidentified individuals to test positive came from the same club, the EFL confirmed in a statement on Sunday, and will now self-isolate for seven days.

Championship teams are preparing to resume training from Monday, albeit while following specific protocols laid down by the league organisers.

"Those players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate in line with the guidelines provided by the EFL and only those who have tested negative will be permitted to enter training ground facilities," the statement read.

"The EFL will continue to make regular and relevant announcements as appropriate in respect of the testing programme to support competition integrity and transparency."

It is unclear yet when - or even if - the Championship campaign will resume, with no fixtures played since March 8.

The Premier League confirmed a further two COVID-19 cases on Saturday, following on from an initial six from the first round of testing.

Leeds United chief executive Angus Kinnear has claimed it would be "a national embarrassment" if the 2019-20 football season cannot be completed in England.

Hundreds of people in the United Kingdom continue to lose their lives each day from the effects of COVID-19, adding to a death toll that is higher than in any other European country.

However, the UK government is keen to get professional sport up and running again, and English football authorities are determined to get through many of the fixtures that remained unplayed after competitions were suspended in March.

The Premier League and second-tier Championship are working towards getting back under way, and Leeds chief Kinnear is optimistic that will be possible, with Marcelo Bielsa's side firmly in the hunt for automatic promotion to the top flight. They sit top of the Championship, a point ahead of West Brom with nine rounds of games remaining.

"England had some of the finest sports scientists and football administrators in the game and the time has come for us as a sport to stop repeatedly framing the challenges and start delivering on the solution," said Kinnear, in a column for the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"It would be a national embarrassment if the Bundesliga, LaLiga or Serie A were to be able to complete safely and the first and fifth-biggest leagues in the world were not able to follow suit if the context remained comparable."

Kinnear said Leeds could have been "opportunist" and pushed for the league to be permanently halted, with placings then to be determined by points-per-game averages, because that would have seen them promoted.

"However, our intention has always been to do all we can to complete this season where we started it – on the pitch," Kinnear said.

Kinnear said Leeds are subscribing to protocols that are "rigorous, comprehensive, and founded on science", insisting the club's players have "embraced" the efforts being taken.

He said no players would be "pressurised" to train or play during the coronavirus period.

But he added: "Across the leagues hundreds of players will have to make the same decision and whilst individual choices and circumstance need to be respected they cannot be allowed to derail the personal judgements of the majority and the health of our national games as a whole."

Leeds United need to seal promotion from the Championship this season or else Marcelo Bielsa may not remain at Elland Road, according to Nigel Martyn.

The West Yorkshire club appeared on course to end their long wait to seal a return to the Premier League when the 2019-20 season was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bielsa had his squad sitting top of the table and while only a point clear of nearest rivals West Brom, they had created a comfortable cushion between themselves and the rest of the chasing pack in the race to clinch one of the two automatic spots.

It remains unclear when the action will resume in the Football League - chairman Rick Parry has said the campaign must be completed by July 31 - but Martyn fears Bielsa will not stick around without the prospect of playing in the Premier League in 2020-21.

The former Leeds and England goalkeeper is full of praise for the work done by the Argentinian coach, describing him as a "breath of fresh air" while applauding his impact on the players, both on and off the field.

"Without wanting to sound too downbeat, I didn't see him doing another season if they didn't get promoted,” Martyn told Stats Perform.

"It was kind of a last chance saloon with Leeds and this manager, and he's been a breath of fresh air with his attitude, not just to playing football but to life in general.

"What he's brought to that club and the humility he’s bought, is good to see. It's rubbed off on his players, who looked like they were enjoying winning and everything that went with that.

"Let's hope we don’t miss out on Bielsa in the Premier League, because that would be good to see."

Leeds had seemingly overcome a wobble prior to the suspension in proceedings, recording five successive league victories to get their promotion push firmly back on track.

However, Martyn acknowledges the long hiatus will allow all in the Championship to reset in preparation for a short run-in, while some teams could be hampered by changes in personnel due to the different situations concerning loan signings and their parent clubs.

"At this point, you'd say they [Leeds] deserve to go up. I would love to see them in the Premier League with everything back to normal, but that's not the situation," Martyn said.

"I want the season finished, obviously, because so much has been invested into it. However, there are a lot of players out of contract, on loan from other clubs that might have to go back, so it won't be the same.

"Situations have changed, so it is going to be new for everybody despite being a continuation.

"They were in a good place and you would say they would have gone up this year, all things being equal, but if the season is able to be completed, it's the same for West Brom, Nottingham Forest, for everybody.

"You can put all the excuses there, but it's the same for all. Possibly it won't be the same squad that finishes it, but it’s the same for everyone. If you all sign up to it, there's no coming back."

Clubs should not be promoted to the Premier League if they are unable to complete the 2019-20 Championship season, according to Norwich City's sporting director Stuart Webber.

Professional football in England has been on hold since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no resumption in fixtures until at least June 1.

Both the Championship and Premier League appear committed to finishing their respective campaigns on the pitch, though the uncertainty around the situation means an absolute decision is impossible at this current time.

There remains the possibility of leagues following the example of France's Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, which have been ended prematurely and final positions determined on a points-per-game basis.

Norwich sit bottom of the Premier League, six points adrift of safety, and Webber insists it would be unacceptable if the Canaries were to be relegated on the pitch, only to see a Championship side promoted without playing again.

"In my opinion, it needs to be settled on the pitch, not off the pitch," Webber told Sky Sports. "A big question we have around restarting is, it's fine if we restart and three teams get relegated – we look at it as though we're only six points off 16th rather than being adrift.

"But if we do [get relegated], that's fine, because that's where football should be played. Football should be played on a pitch and not in the boardroom. But the Championship has to restart and play all their games also.

“What we could not accept is a situation where we play out all our games, get relegated but then the Championship can't play - because we don't even know if the government are going to let them play - and then they automatically promote some teams who haven't finished the season.

"It's a bit like saying, we can't complete the FA Cup, but we're in the quarter-finals, we've beaten a Championship top-six team away, we've beaten two Premier League teams away, so does that mean we win the FA Cup then and qualify for Europe and we all get a medal, because the level of games we played were harder than the other teams left in the quarter-finals?

"That's a really important sporting point - it needs to be settled on the pitch, both coming up or going down."

Hard-hit English clubs from outside the Premier League may want to look again at tie-ups with top-flight sides after the coronavirus period, a former Football Association chief has suggested.

Dan Ashworth served as FA technical director until departing after the 2018 World Cup to join Brighton and Hove Albion, where he holds the same job title.

He was involved in talks while at the national governing body that took in discussions about B teams and feeder clubs, but in 2017 said he could not see the shape of the English game "changing anytime soon".

The English Football League (EFL) also took a strong stance against the notion of B teams, at a time when it was suggested an extra tier could be added in a restructuring plan.

However, clubs are facing up to unprecedented hardship because of the COVID-19 crisis, with football suspended and little hope that spectators will be allowed inside stadiums until 2021 at the earliest.

It could mean many clubs are left with crippling debts and others go out of existence, potentially leaving holes to fill in the EFL's competitions, which may create space for B teams of Premier League clubs.

Those teams from the Championship, League One and League Two that survive might welcome the prospect of being propped up by elite clubs, who are fighting to protect their huge broadcast revenue.

Ashworth, quoted widely in the UK media, said: "The sort of things we explored a number of years ago, during my time at the FA, were strategic loan clubs, B teams or partner clubs.

"Maybe, just maybe, things like that come back on the table.

"If there is a shortage of money and everybody has to cut their cloth accordingly then maybe there're ways we can share resources and help one another.

"Ground sharing is one that has been looked at before, artificial surfaces that can be used for concerts and training. You could have women's and men's games in the same venue."

Manchester United attacker Daniel James revealed his anger when a move from Swansea City to Leeds United fell through in "crazy" fashion last year.

James, 22, was on the verge of joining Leeds in January 2019, just months before his switch to Old Trafford.

The 10-time Wales international said he had agreed to head to Leeds before the move fell through as the window closed.

"I got to Elland Road about 6pm, did all the pictures with my shirt, all the interviews, because they wanted it to go out in the morning, and then it was strange," James told former Swansea team-mate Kenji Gorre on the Living The Dream podcast.

"It got to about 9pm and I'd signed all the papers and then it was from club-to-club. I had people texting me saying, 'What's happening?' and I literally didn't know. It wasn't until 15 minutes to go until I thought, 'This might not happen now.'

"I ended up ringing the chairman [of Swansea] to ask him what's happening. It was all a bit crazy and then it wasn't done. I threw my phone.

"I thought it's not real. The chief exec of Leeds wasn't happy at the time, but then it was just a case of driving home. It was a very weird situation and I think it helped me in some ways."

James ended up finishing the season with Swansea before joining Manchester United for a reported £15million in June 2019.

He had scored four goals in 37 games in all competitions for United before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Discussions relating to the return of Premier League football have been held in "constructive meetings", according to the United Kingdom government's foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

The Premier League has been on hiatus for almost two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted much of the world and brought professional sport to a standstill.

'Project Restart', as it has been dubbed, is being planned by the Premier League, as decision-makers look to determine the best way to resume matches.

According to reports, numerous ideas are being considered, such as playing the remaining matches behind closed doors at neutral venues, while Professional Footballers' Association chief Gordon Taylor has suggested matches could even be shortened.

Raab confirmed the government has already held talks with sporting bodies with regards to allowing athletes and players to resume training, and while he suggested discussions are going well, he stressed safety is the priority.

"I think it would lift the spirit of the nation," Raab said in the government's daily briefing on Tuesday.

"The government has had constructive meetings with sports bodies over plans for athletes to resume training when it's safe to do so.

"The culture secretary has also been working on a plan to get sports played behind closed doors when we move to the second phase.

"We can only do it when the medical and scientific advice is that it can be done safely and sustainably, but that is certainly something under active consideration."

The UK has had almost 195,000 confirmed cases of the virus, while the death toll has reached 29,427, the largest total in Europe.

Cancelling relegation from the Premier League this season would outrage Championship clubs, according to Rick Parry, the EFL chairman.

Parry added that the 2019-20 campaign needs to be finished by July 31 for sides outside the top flight.

Former Liverpool and Premier League chief executive Parry was giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Professional football in England has been suspended since March, with Parry revealing that clubs below the top flight are facing a £200million shortfall by the end of September as a result.

"Our end date realistically is 31 July because of the situation with contracts," said Parry of when the season needs to come to a close. "We can't go beyond July.

"Players and staff have been furloughed and to expect clubs to bring them back in now, to forgo the furlough, only to then find in a month they can't play would be a complete mess.

"We need within days to be taking decisions.

"We have a great deal of uncertainty around next season and the undetermined matter of when we'll be able to return with crowds, which for the EFL is absolutely critical.

"We're much more dependent upon the revenue and atmosphere generated by crowds than the Premier League."

Some Premier League clubs are reportedly uneasy about the competitive disadvantage of playing behind closed doors at neutral venues as they battle relegation, believing the drop into the Championship should be taken off the table.

However, Parry said: "The Premier League is aware of our position on that. There would be a degree of outrage from a number of clubs in the Championship and it would be a breach of the tripartite agreement."

Parry added that "lawyers are going to get wealthy" if relegation is scrapped.

Norwich City, Aston Villa and Bournemouth were in the relegation places when the season was halted. West Ham and Watford were only outside the bottom three on goal difference, with Brighton and Hove Albion two points clear of the drop.

Gordon Taylor has revealed playing less than 45 minutes per half has been proposed ahead of the return of football in England.

There has been no professional football in England since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and players' union boss Taylor does not envisage a return until at least the middle of June.

The Premier League launched 'Project Restart' in a bid to conclude the 2019/20 campaign, with games potentially played at neutral venues in England or even overseas.

World governing body FIFA has proposed increasing the number of substitutions in an attempt to ease players' workload, with the prospect of a hectic schedule to come if the action gets under way again.

Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) chief executive Taylor says reducing the duration of matches has also been discussed.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We don't know the future, what we do know is what propositions have been put, what ideas have been put, the possibility of having more substitutes, games possibly not being the full 45 minutes each way.

"We've talked of neutral stadiums, there's lots of things been put forward, try and wait and see what the proposals are and then have the courtesy to let the managers and coaches and players come to a considered view."

Taylor believes it would be unrealistic to expect games to take place before the middle of next month.

He added: "I wouldn't expect games to be played, if everything was positive and promising, you wouldn't be thinking of matches being played until around about the middle of June."

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero said players are "scared" to return and Taylor stated it is their choice over whether they take to the field.

The long-serving PFA boss said: "Sergio is a top-class player and is entitled to his opinion of course.

"It's not a question of being scared, it's a question of being fully informed and for the relevant authorities to try and make sure it's as safe as it possibly can be to return, and to pick out any particular statements or choose any parts of that process is not really fair until we've looked at the whole menu."

Taylor added: "They are professional sportsmen and professional sportswomen and of course they are concerned about their own safety, they are not stupid and neither are they naive, so they have to be satisfied that it is safe to return and it is their choice."

Hopes are fading that spectators will be allowed into English football grounds before 2021 after a revelation from former Premier League club Bradford City.

Now in League Two, Bradford said they had suspended 2020-21 season-ticket sales after being told of an "ever-growing possibility" of having to play behind-closed-doors games until next year.

Bradford, who were last in the English top flight in 2001, said it was "highly likely" next season would at least begin with games played without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The West Yorkshire club's decision followed their involvement in a conference call with the English Football League (EFL) on Thursday.

Bradford said in a statement: "'City For All' 2020-21 season-ticket sales have today been suspended.

"The decision has been taken as the club continues to await further information regarding a conclusion to the current campaign, with the start date for next season yet to be confirmed.

"This comes following a meeting yesterday held between the EFL and the Bantams' League Two colleagues.

"City officials have recently been informed of the ever-growing possibility of supporters being unable to attend matches until 2021.

"And it is now highly likely that next season will commence behind closed doors."

The 2019-20 season stalled in March with the arrival and spread in England of COVID-19, and reports have claimed the EFL campaign could be abandoned because of the amount of testing that would need to be conducted just to allow closed-doors games to be played.

It remains to be seen whether the Premier League and EFL have joined-up thinking on matters such as playing games without supporters next season.

Although the Premier League has huge broadcast deals, which it is eager to preserve, clubs lower down the pyramid are facing a harsh reality of losing vital matchday income, amid fears many could be forced out of business.

The EFL has pledged to have rigorous coronavirus testing in place before its leagues resume in England, and insisted the return of football must not negatively affect key workers.

Reports on Saturday suggested Premier League football may return within weeks with matches taking place behind closed doors.

The UK government is said to have begun looking at proposals for the resumption of live sport as part of a bid to boost morale during lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The EFL said its own position regarding the return of action in the Championship, League One and League Two remains unchanged and that football will only resume when it is safe to do so.

An EFL statement read: "The position of the EFL remains unchanged in that the priority is to resume the 2019-20 season as soon as it is possible with matches only returning at an appropriate point and based on guidance from the relevant authorities. The health and well-being of the nation has to come first.

"Clearly, before any return to football can take place, suitable testing arrangements for participants must be in place and this is core to our current planning, as is ensuring there is absolutely no negative impact on the country’s front-line workers, the emergency services, league and club staff members.

"The EFL's medical advisor is working with a select group of medical professionals and sports scientists to ensure their collective expertise is utilised to address these issues. This group will consider the latest medical information and evidence from both in the UK and abroad, particularly around the viability and accessibility of the various COVID-19 tests that are currently available."

The EFL has been suspended since March 13 and the body's chairman Rick Parry said last week matches will likely take place behind closed doors with the intention to finish the 2019-20 season when it is deemed safe to do so.

Saturday's EFL statement added football can only resume successfully with a "collaborative approach with all stakeholders, including the Premier League and Football Association".

The scheduling of fixtures, promotion, relegation and the opening and closing of transfer windows are among issues the EFL said remain under discussion.

Manager Graeme Jones has left Luton Town by mutual consent to help the Championship strugglers cut costs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Luton were second-bottom in their first season back in the second tier of English football when the campaign was suspended due to the COVID-19 crisis in March.

Former Belgium number two Jones was only appointed by the Hatters last May, but his tenure was ended on Friday.

Luton revealed the club were "taking an early move to restructure in order to reduce its cost base and to create efficiencies within the football department."

Assistant manager Gary Brabin, first-team coach Inigo Idiakez and technical goalkeeping coach Imanol Etxeberria have also departed.

Chief recruitment officer Mick Harford will act as a "relationship manager between the board, staff and the playing squad on football matters" on an interim basis and Luton will not consider starting a recruitment process until it becomes clear when they will next be in action.

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