‘It will be very difficult to restart’ – Chairman of Town rival expects League One season to be abandoned this week
- Credit: Archant
The chairman of one of Ipswich Town’s League One rivals says he would be ‘amazed’ if the season isn’t called off.
Tony Stewart’s Rotherham sit in second spot in the table, and he said a decision has to be made as soon as possible about whether to try to restart the campaign in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, or call it off.
It has been widely reported that the EFL will scrap the League One and Two season at some point this week - they are due to meet on Thursday.
“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.
“I just think that what we need is to get instructions so we know which way we are going.
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“We don’t know what the decision is, but what I am told is that Thursday at the latest, maybe Wednesday, but certainly Thursday a decision will be made and we will know where we stand on this season and the start of next season.”
Of course, if the season is scrapped the next big question will be how to decide the promotion and relegation spots.
And Stewart said he believes the top three should get promoted - Coventry City, Rotherham and Oxford.
“I am biased because we are in second place,” he said. “By my reckoning we have played 78 per cent of the games, I think the top two should go up, or top three go up but no one gets relegated.
“That would go down well with the clubs at the bottom. Over the number of matches we have played, I think the top two have certainly proved a point.”
Ron Martin, chairman of relegation threatened Southend - who were languishing in 23rd spot when the season was suspended – would rather see the campaign declared null and void.
He said: “If the competition cannot be finished, then it should be voided.
“As every alternative to voiding the season is sub-optimal and not capable of maintaining sporting integrity, a line, in all reasonableness, must be drawn under the 19/20 campaign.
“This decision would also best maintain the financial status quo among clubs as it reflects the budgets they started the season with.
“The challenges going forward, as matters stand, are enough to contend with, let’s not compound that further as a result of a quizmaster!”