Expulsion call for clubs who refuse to start 2020/21 season due to costs

Clubs that refuse to play due to the costs of starting the 2020/21 season in September should be expelled from the EFL, according to Peterborough United co-owner Darragh MacAnthony.

By Liam Hoden
Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 7:00 am

A report in The Athletic this week stated that ‘at least a dozen clubs including Bolton and Ipswich’ have informed the EFL they will not start as they cannot afford the costs involved.

It is understood that the cost of regular Covid-19 testing is the biggest stumbling block cited by the clubs involved.

The announcement of a start date of September 12 for the new campaign has been expected for some time, while there have also been suggestions that ties in the Carabao Cup and Leasing.com Trophy will take place in the week prior to the commencement of the league season.

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Peterborough United co-owner Darragh MacAnthony

It means time is running out for the EFL to find a solution which satisfies the concerns of clubs - which could come via the relaxation of government guidelines or cost effective solutions.

But MacAnthony sees no reason to attempt to placate those clubs, and believes that any refusal to play should be met with expulsion from the EFL entirely.

He said: “The testing rules will be reduced shortly in my opinion so all the panicky media articles like the one in ’The Athletic’ and the strike threats, if true, need to stop.

“If teams went on strike over starting up our leagues again, they should be expelled from the EFL as TV deals will be cancelled.”

MacAnthony was a vociferous supporter of the campaign to continue the League One campaign before it was curtailed last month.

His Posh side have returned for pre-season training and are undergoing regular Covid-19 testing as part of that programme.

It was estimated that testing would have cost Doncaster Rovers in excess of £165,000 to complete their final matches of the 2019/20 season, had they gone ahead.

The cost of testing coupled with having to play matches behind-closed doors is also thought to be a factor in the concerns of some clubs.

However the prime minister announced last week the goal of having some supporters present in stadiums by October.

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