Clubs UNITED against ending League One season

Posh owner Darragh MacAnthony has released a statement on behalf of a host of promotion chasing League One clubs ahead of Friday’s meeting.

League One and Two clubs will meet on Friday to decide the outcome of the season, with a normal points-per-game (PPG) system the new ‘favoured’ approach previously understood to be the preference of many clubs in Leagues One and Two.

It was widely anticipated that no more football will take place in the third and fourth tier of English football this season, with clubs set to vote on the outcome on Friday.

However, that decision is now set to be less straight forward with MacAnthony issuing the following statement just moments after Rochdale CEO David Bottomley confirmed his club had become the first to propose settling the table on a PPG mechanism.

“I have been asked to relay this message on behalf of Oxford, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Ipswich, Fleetwood and Peterborough to the EFL & the media ahead of the our League One meeting tomorrow morning” MacAnthony said on his Twitter page.

“We as a collective are United in our goal to finish this season. We have no desire for voiding the season, PPG scenario’s/letting a computer decide our footballing fate. For our fans/staff & for the integrity of our sport we are all looking forward to completing our pending.

“Fixtures/season under guidance from the EFL at a time it is deemed safe to do so. Thank you for your time.”

The Ipswich Town Twitter page later tweeted: “Marcus Evans has written a letter to the EFL which reiterates the Club’s desire to complete the season.”

The Portsmouth Twitter account added: “From our point of view, we understand the difficulties that there are going to be to get this season completed, but we feel we owe it to our supporters, staff and football, in general, to do everything that we can to achieve a result via what goes on, on the pitch.”

Andy Pilley, the Fleetwood Town chairman has also taken to Twitter this evening. “We Fleetwood Town are backing the completion of EFL (League) 1 fixtures.

“Sporting integrity is of paramount importance, we cannot accept ppg or any other conclusion without giving it our best shot in a safe environment Germans, Prem, championship and many more are completing and so should we.”

Earlier this week, Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin told The News Portsmouth that the reported decision of abandoning the league is news to him. 

“It’s news to me, the last I knew this had to go to a vote. We haven’t been given a vote yet.” Catlin said. 

“At the moment we can’t train, at the moment we can’t play games behind closed doors or let fans in. Until the situation or timescales change it’s very difficult to say what will happen.

“As far as I’m aware, unless there’s meetings taking place behind my back and a lot of other clubs’, there’s no defined date on votes being held or papers going out, not to my knowledge.”

Rotherham chairman Tony Stewart thinks a decision is needed soon and admits he would be ‘amazed’ if Leagues One and Two restart.

“We need a decision, we need to get some direction from the Football League,” Stewart told the PA news agency. “They are our masters. We have been waiting patiently and it will be nice to know where we are at this time.

“I have got doubts, it will be very difficult to restart. I don’t see League One and League Two starting. I would be amazed. They are talking about mid-June, we are talking about just weeks that we have got to prepare for it.

“I don’t think there is the time to get it organised and together. But if instruction comes we have to do what we have to do. The EFL are meeting on Wednesday-Thursday, we are led to believe something will come out of that.”

Southend chairman Ron Martin firmly believes that the season should voided, perhaps with Southend sitting 16 points adrift from safety the main thinking behind his opinion.

“I agree this season should be announced void. The English Football Leagues are predicated on that famous, in my opinion overused phrase; “the integrity of the competition must be maintained”. With nine or 10 games to go the “integrity” is impaired, in fact damaged beyond repair,” Martin told the Southend’s official website

“The competition we started last August is no longer recognisable. If we are unable to finish the season, is allocating an average points per game fair? Of course not. This is a football competition, potentially with many twists and turns, not a pub quiz. Peoples livelihoods are at stake.

“People will cite voiding the season is based on self-interest; they are not wrong. The interests of Southend United must come first. There is “self-interest” in every club in each league and it is for this reason that the “integrity” of the competition is said to be paramount. If the competition cannot be finished, then it should be voided.”

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