Pompey Chief Executive: League One Decision May Not Come Until June
Saturday, 23rd May 2020 21:03
Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin expects the saga surrounding the future of League One’s 2019/20 campaign to drag on into the first week of June.
On Thursday the EFL outlined the current position in a statement following a board meeting the previous day with clubs set to vote on whether to resolve the situation by playing the season to its conclusion behind closed doors or end it now and allocate promotion, relegation and placings via unweighted points per game.
“There’s no date on the vote but I believe under the regulations once voting papers are issued there’s a five-day period to allow people to vote,” Catlin told the Portsmouth News.
“So another one of my big concerns in trying to finish the season is that clubs have been asked to submit their opinions by close of play on Tuesday next week.
“Let’s assume papers are produced Wednesday or Thursday, we’re probably not going to know the results until the week after next.
“That really then makes it difficult to complete the season given the timing of 56 days and a period needed to train and get the players back to some level of fitness.”
It’s widely believed that the clubs wanting to play the season to its completion - who include the Blues and Portsmouth - are in the minority.
Meanwhile, Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony has defended the move to form a six-club collective - Sunderland, Fleetwood and Oxford in addition to Posh, Pompey and Town - to lobby the EFL for the season to be played to an end.
“Maybe people took it the wrong way,” he told his own Football Club Chairman - Hard Truth podcast.
“There were other clubs’ fans who got salty about the fact we wanted to play and I know another owner on Twitter [presumably Accrington's Andy Holt] was getting on his soapbox and getting upset about it.
“But here’s the reality: we rang around lots of clubs and we wanted to have conversations with a lot of other clubs. It was an open invitation. Those who chose to tune in, tuned in. Those who didn’t, didn’t
“What we wanted to talk as football clubs. It’s great when we have EFL updates and PDFs, but you don’t know what other clubs are thinking so it’s for all the owners to get together, hammer it out and talk about it. After all this is our product: football.
“We’re now being told to get back training so the idea was to open up the conversation, have a like-minded conversation and hear the reasons people did and didn’t want to continue. We didn’t want to just talk about these nine games, but also next season. That was the idea and spirit of the chat.”
MacAnthony said there were moves to get other clubs as well as the six involved in the discussions: “It was a really good chat and it was interesting getting to know the MD at Portsmouth, directors at Oxford, Fleetwood, of course, Ipswich and Sunderland.
“It was a general conversion saying ‘Look guys, this is our product and it’s so important for our future we get out there and play’.
“We spoke to a lot of other clubs and to those Coventry and Rotherham fans who are upset about it, at the time, we reached out to them and tried with Wycombe.
“The Wycombe owner emailed me a few weeks ago, so we tried to get him on. The bottom line was we wanted to make it very transparent we wanted football back on, it wasn’t us versus them as some people took it. For that, I can apologise. That wasn’t the intention. The overall message was we wanted football back on.”
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