Portsmouth chief fears major hurdle even if vote on resuming League One season is won
Alongside Sunderland, Portsmouth are one of eight clubs publicly committed to resuming the season and fulfilling the fixture list.
The EFL are likely to finalise their framework for curtailing the season today, with third-tier clubs then voting in the early stages of next week.
However, chief executive officer Mark Catlin has conceded there is a growing issue even if that vote was to be won.
EFL chairman Rick Parry has already said that it is not deemed feasible for the season to continue past July 31st.
Given that he also believes 56 days are need to finish the campaign, and that at least three weeks training is required before any resumption, the problem is clear .
“Hopefully we will find out next week, but by that time we will be into June and there are still 2-3 weeks required to get players back to training – then you have 56 days to complete,” Catlin told the Portsmouth News.
“I am not sure how we then manage to get this done beyond July 31, which I feel has always been the backstop in regards of player contracts.
“You can keep them until June 30 – however, there is then a month’s severance.
“We have always worked on the assumption that, with the goodwill of players. they will carry on during that month because they cannot sign for another club.
“Asking them to stay on for a month is one thing, asking them to go into a new deal beyond July 31 for a limited amount of time when they risk injury is something completely different.
“I am not talking specifically about Pompey. Speaking generally, take a club who have a player whose contract ends in June, but is willing to play on into July because of the severance pay.
“Asking them to go beyond that could be a problem because they may have already done another deal with another club.
“I think it is a big ask, especially when those players are risking injury.”
The EFL have previously put forward proposals that would allow clubs to offer short-term extensions.
Sunderland’s chief executive Jim Rodwell has previously said that playing into August should be considered, if that is required.
“The players would always have a choice whether or not they want to play in July,” he said.
“I'd have thought they would, but they may not and it's entirely up to them.
“In the worst-case scenario that they don't, we have other players in contract.
“It is important, but my view is that it's more important to play the season out with whatever teams we can in terms of integrity, than not playing.
“There are things to address.
“We have important players that we would like to play the rest of the season who are out of contract.
“Everything can be negotiated.
“Worst-case scenario is a player decided he doesn't want to play, for whatever legitimate reason, and that's no problem, then you have to play someone else.”