Western Morning News

Committed to complete the season

- JAK BALL jak.ball@reachplc.com

LEAGUE Two clubs still aim to complete the 2019/20 season, following a meeting between the 24 sides earlier this week.

Representa­tives from each club attended a video conference on Tuesday to discuss issues surroundin­g the completion of the season.

There are concerns that restarting the season when safe to do so won’t work as some clubs reportedly won’t be able to afford to do so.

There are also issues with player contracts, with many players in League Two seeing theirs expire on June 30.

If the season was to restart it would stretch past that point, resulting in a whole host of issues.

Some believe that contracts should be extended until the end of the season, whenever that may be, so that the season can finish.

However, it is thought that some clubs have stated that they wouldn’t be able to afford to continue contracts past June 30, especially for those players they wish to release.

Integrity would also be an issue, which is something Plymouth Argyle owner Simon Hallett has spoken about before.

He previously stated: “Most lower league clubs - if you have a squad of somewhere between 18 and 26 have a very high proportion of those players on short-term contracts. So at the end of every season you have to re-negotiate or let go players.

“The first year I became involved at Argyle four years ago, we played in a play-off final at Wembley on a weekend. By Tuesday, we had two players under contract.

“For us, if we finish off the season in let’s say in August, we won’t have a full squad under contract. So what do you do? Do you say, “Right, every single contract gets extended by three months,” in which case you’re going to get some clubs saying, but I don’t want to pay that player for another three months because I was going to release them anyway.

“Or do you say, “It’s a normal transfer window. Contracts are out and you just get a new team,” in which case the integrity of the season is completely destroyed because you’d be playing with new teams.”

Clubs are starved of revenue and if the season was to return, it is almost a certainty that matches would have to be played behind closed doors.

That would see clubs lose out on match day income, which in itself would cause a lot of financial issues.

Earlier this week National League clubs voted to ‘end their season immediatel­y’, with all remaining league matches cancelled amid the coronaviru­s crisis.

A statement from the league released on Wednesday said promotion and relegation issues for the National League, National League North and National League South are ‘under careful considerat­ion’.

Some are calling for a similar outcome in the EFL but for now League Two clubs remain committed to finishing the 2019/20 season but only time will tell as to whether that becomes achievable.

 ?? Dave Rowntree/PPAUK ?? > The issue of player contracts should the football season be extended is of concern for Plymouth Argyle owner Simon Hallett
Dave Rowntree/PPAUK > The issue of player contracts should the football season be extended is of concern for Plymouth Argyle owner Simon Hallett

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