SOUTHEND United could begin playing games behind closed doors at some point in June, after the EFL sent a letter to all clubs.

EFL chairman Rick Parry has sent a letter to all Championship, League One and League Two teams, telling them that their expectation is that it will take just 56 days to finish the current 2019/20 season which is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter also says players should take any holidays now to fulfil annual leave obligations, as there will be no time for them to have a break between the end of the season and the beginning of the 2020/21 campaign.

Southend's players are currently training as individuals in according to government guidance, with clubs told not to begin training as usual until May 16 at the earliest.

The EFL letter reads: '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.'

The letter also tells clubs that the £125m of funds advanced by the Premier League to EFL and National League clubs will be put on hold 'while additional clarity is sought on other financial matters, particularly in respect to player wages'.

The Shrimpers - who have not played since early March - have nine games left to play in League One and sit second from bottom in the standings, 16 points from safety.