Coronavirus: Time off for Ipswich Town players, two people in self isolation and a season tickets discussion
PUBLISHED: 15:23 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:28 16 March 2020
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It was announced last Friday that all Premier League and EFL football will be suspended until April 4 at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic. STUART WATSON looks at the key issues facing Ipswich Town.
HOW TO FINISH THE SEASON
The EFL have been in touch with members asking some basic questions about the levels of insurance they hold, but are yet to ask what each club’s preferred stance is on how this season should end.
Ipswich Town’s preferred stance is that the season should resume and be played to conclusion, in front of supporters, once it’s safe to do so, even if that meant a long delay deep into 2020, followed by a shorter off season break, then a greatly reduced 2020/21 campaign.
This scenario could leave clubs further down the pyramid that are heavily reliant on gate receipts in financial danger and reliant on increased solidarity payments from the Premier League.
Removing season ticket income out of the equation, Ipswich take in around £100k per home game.
First team players and coaching staff were sent home last Friday and told not to report back until a week on Thursday (March 26). That’s a 10-day break.
The exception is those who are rehabbing from injuries. They continue to report to Playford Road and work with physios.
Those who are off have been given fitness programmes to follow and told they cannot travel abroad. Academy scholars are still coming in but are on a reduced timetable.
TWO CASES OF SELF ISOLATION
No players have reported any symptoms of the coronavirus. The club has not tested any of their players.
Two staff members in office roles at Portman Road are in self isolation, purely as a precautionary measure, following medical advice.
A deep clean of Portman Road and Playford Road was undertaken at the weekend. Office staff at Portman Road are still coming to work but following guidelines regarding non-contact and general hygiene. Staff working at Playford Road has been kept to a minimum.
The annual Ex Players’ Dinner, which was set to see members of the promotion winning squad of 2000 inducted to the Hall of Fame, was scheduled to take place at Portman Road on Friday. That has been cancelled.
The club’s annual Golf Day, which was sees first team players and staff play alongside sponsors, was scheduled to take place at Hintlseham Golf Club next Tuesday. That too has been cancelled.
The club shop, Planet Blue, remains open for business.
Supporters who had purchased individual tickets for the postponed game against Portsmouth this Saturday are entitled to a refund. Or they can keep it for the re-scheduled match.
The club is currently discussing what it would do regarding season tickets – and the potential to refund on a pro rata basis – should the final five home matches of the season be declared null and void.
Also under discussion is whether the club will delay the announcement of 2020/21 season ticket prices. As it stands, information packs on that are due to go out around the middle of April.
Marcus Evans’ empire – which is centred around business conferencing and corporate hospitality at major sporting events – is likely to take a major hit.
The Town owner e-mailed all club staff on Friday and has remained in constant communication with general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill. It’s understood he plans to be at the club in person later this week.