‘There are massive decisions ahead’ - Town chief O’Neill on football’s fight to complete 2019/20 season
Ipswich Town chief Lee O’Neill says there will be ‘massive decisions ahead’ as football searches for a satisfactory conclusion to the 2019/20 season.
The sport in this country, and throughout much of the world, is on hold as the nation deals with the coronavirus pandemic, with the season currently halted until at least April 30. That suspension is almost certain to be extended in the coming days.
O’Neill and Ipswich continue to believe the best way forward would be to complete the current campaign when it’s safe to do so, in a bid to maintain sporting integrity and also avoid a raft of financial and legal issues, rather than simply void the campaign now.
But that, O’Neill admits, would require some ‘massive decisions’ to be made in terms of on-pitch logistics, financial management and the impact completing the current season will have on 2020/21 campaign.
“The players were due to return to training this week but that has been put back by the EFL until April 14,” the Blues’ general manager of football operations, said.
“We are working to a timetable from there. We have to have a plan in place and at the moment, the instructions are to be ready to play from the start of May.
“Can players be ready to play at the end of the month fitness wise? Yes but that isn’t the question when you see what is going on in the world. How can we have players training and playing games when social distancing and a ban of more than two people being together is in place?
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“It’s unrealistic to think we will be back for April 14 for those reasons and I expect that to change but we had a coaches’ meeting this morning and looked at the timetable and all we can do is work towards what we have been told by the EFL.
“There are meetings planned between all the main football bodies this week, the Premier League, EFL, PFA and there are some massive decisions ahead.
“As a club though, we certainly support the notion that everything should be done where possible to complete this season. If that doesn’t happen, the ramifications will go on and on.”