‘You’re going to have a lot of players unemployed’ - MacAnthony’s EFL warning

Peterborough co-owner Darragh MacAnthony. Photo: PA

Peterborough co-owner Darragh MacAnthony. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony has warned that many EFL players will face unemployment and wage cuts in the fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic.

MacAnthony had long been vocal in his wish to play the League One season out in full – a push backed by Ipswich Town – but ultimately clubs voted by an overwheling majority to end the campaign on Tuesday.

That meant Peterborough narrowly missed out on a play-off spot under the points-per-game calculation which was used to determine the final standings.

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And he claimed that Posh had been misled by the EFL. deciding not to furlough their players as the guidance was that the season would be completed.

“Every letter from the EFL stated that we wanted to finish the season and we went along with that,” MacAnthony said on Sky Sports’ ‘The Football Show’.

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“I spoke to Rick Parry, the chairman, in May and I said to him, ‘What are we doing? Things seem to be improving’ and he said, ‘We want to finish the season, there’s no reason not to finish the season’ so again we went along with that.

“We voted for football. We will always vote for football. I understand the health concerns but we’ve now been told football is back - the Premier League is back, the Championship is back. The EFL is 71 clubs and we’ve been told we can’t play football so it’s devastation and disappointment.”

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The outspoken MacAnthony also said the EFL haven’t given clubs any idea when next season will start, or looked to provide financial relief as they struggle with the loss of revenue.

“So many things could have been done in the last four or five weeks that weren’t done,” he said. “That’s why I’m disappointed with the EFL. It would have been lovely to find out what are we looking at starting date wise.

“Have you, the EFL, had a conversation with the PFA about wage cuts?

“Because you’re going to have a lot of players unemployed and the PFA are going to have to go to their members and, with what’s happened with the pandemic you’re going to have to have a wage cut and we need the PFA’s agreement with that, it’s going to be good for the players, it’s going to keep them in jobs and clubs in survival.

“Has the EFL done a deal on the bailout? We’ve had some really crappy news, so give us some good news for the future.”

It is understood the EFL and other sports governing bodies are in first stage discussions with sports minister Nigel Huddleston and Jonathan Van Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, about the conditions needed in the country for the partial reopening of stadia to occur.

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No timetable will be set out at this stage, and no mass gatherings are expected to be allowed until the autumn at the earliest.

Forest Green chairman Dale Vince says his club is budgeting on the basis of receiving no traditional matchday revenue at all in 2020-21, but hopes that a phased reopening will be possible.

“If fans come back at some point then that’s a bonus,” he told the PA news agency.

“I don’t think we’ll go from no fans to all fans, I think there will be some kind of staging posts, maybe 20 per cent occupancy might be the starting place for example and release our way back.”

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