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Fixture Release Day brings excitement, says Birch

24 June 2021

EFL Chief Executive, Trevor Birch, says he's "looking forward to what lies ahead" in 2021/22 following the release of the divisional fixtures for the campaign.

The fixtures for the coming season were released at 9am on Thursday 24 June, officially beginning the countdown to kick-off.

Speaking about Fixture Release Day, Birch belives there's plenty to be excited about as the 2021/22 campaign draws closer.

"It's a great day," he said. "With the whole pyramid system, it's just a wonderful day and I'm looking forward to what lies ahead.

"The fact we managed to finish the season while playing without crowds is testament to everyone concerned, really. The Clubs, the fans, the League... everyone played a part in achieving that, and to have the culmination of the Play-Off Finals with some fans back was a real highlight."

Among those eagerly awaiting the release of the fixtures were Sutton United, who became an EFL club for the first time following automatic promotion from the National League last season.

"For the first time, we've got Sutton United - famous for their FA Cup win over Coventry City in 1989 - in the EFL, having never played League football in their 123-year history, so it's a great occasion for them," Birch added.

"I was at the Play-Off game where Hartlepool got promoted; there was great travelling support from their fans and I'm sure they'll have a real presence in League Two next season too.

"We've also got some familiar faces coming back down from the Premier League in Sheffield United, Fulham and West Brom, who are all fabulously strong teams that will create great competition in the Championship."

Birch believes that the quality on show across the three divisions, as well as in the current England national team, underlines the strength of the English football pyramid, and says increased capacity at Wembley for the latter stages of Euro 2020 offers hope for a full return of supporters to EFL stadiums. 

"We know these divisions, in terms of their attendances, are some of the best in Europe and we've got some great Clubs who have been in the Premier League recently," he said. "You can see it with the current England team and the players that started their lives in the EFL - it's a great breeding ground for talent and one we should be proud of. 

"I think it's great news for us, to have 75% capacity for those games. We're taking it as great news for the start of the season. We hope everything goes well and we can avoid any escalation in the variants, and that we're all back with full crowds for the restart."

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