A regionalised League One? - Rival chairman in Doncaster Rovers’ division says football ‘must think differently’ after coronavirus

Regionalising the bottom two divisions of the EFL is one suggestion that has been put forward to help ensure clubs survive financially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

By Liam Hoden
Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 9:29 pm

Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley believes organising bodies and clubs must ‘think creatively’ to ensure the game is saved beyond the current crisis.

There are serious concerns that many clubs will face catastrophic financial situations with income wiped out due to the indefinite shutdown of football.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Pilley says no suggestion should be off limits in a bid to secure the long term future of the game - including regionalising Leagues One and Two to reduce costs.

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“It is worth considering a regionalised League One and League Two,” he said.

"Much as I like Gillingham, I don’t like going there on a Tuesday night, or Portsmouth on a Tuesday night. It makes no sense."

Pilley - who guided Fleetwood out of non-league - hopes a financial rescue package is offered by the Premier League, Professional Footballers’ Association or borrowed against future income but believes conditions should be placed on such measures.

He said: “If there is to be a rescue package one of the knock-on effects is that there should be a covenant and within that there needs to be a salary cap so football becomes sustainable in the lower leagues so we can focus on football and not points deductions.”

Pilley added: "I don’t think anything is off the table. We have to evolve.

“Football has to think creatively and be inventive here, otherwise we run a real risk.

“We are stuck in our ways and have become very traditional, be it with dates or certain rules continuing because they always have done.

“But what is important here? It is not who achieves sporting success this year but having a healthy, long-term sustainable football pyramid.

“Our game is admired across the world and it is in a critical situation. We must find a way to save it.

“If it means pressing the reset button then that is what we must do because we don’t want to end up with another Bury or Macclesfield or Bolton situation.”

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