Gary Neville gives stark verdict on fate of Sunderland's season and controversial EFL table proposals

Gary Neville believes that is ‘extremely unlikely’ that the current League One campaign will be concluded on the pitch.
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EFL Chairman Rick Parry candidly outlined the challenges for League One and Two clubs earlier this week, and a report in The Athletic this morning suggested that clubs will be asked to vote on settling the table by other means next week.

Neville says only significant intervention from the Premier League would allow clubs in the bottom two tiers of the league pyramid to resume.

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He has been close to discussions throughout the postponement in his role as co-owner of League Two Salford City.

The fate of Sunderland's season could be settled next weekThe fate of Sunderland's season could be settled next week
The fate of Sunderland's season could be settled next week

“We're talking millions of pounds to invest in what would be health and safety protocols, neutral venues, all the logistics, the hotel costs of keeping club people and players in as safe environments as possible will be huge costs to the Bundesliga and the Premier League,” Neville said on the Sky Sports Football Show.

“And League One and League Two can't fund that. The clubs won't fund that.

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"You've obviously got added complexities that 50 per cent of players in League One and League Two are out of contract in two months and ultimately clubs don't want to pay them beyond those contracts so there will be no extensions available.

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"I think also there's just a lack of willingness at League One and League Two levels to take the risk and go through all the economic risks. There [will be] no fans in stadiums, you'd have to pay players appearance money and bonus money - and the clubs haven't got the money.

"The only way in which football could happen in League One and League Two is if our friends in the Premier League were able to fund football for League One and League Two but I'm not sure at this moment in time they've got their own ship in order, so they're not going to look after League One and League Two and League Two."

The Athletic says that the EFL will propose a weighted points-per-game mechanism to settle the tables.

"There are going to be some very unhappy people in the next few weeks if the points-per-game method is used," Neville said.

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"There will be some pain at the top but that pain will multiply for teams at the bottom if that starts to happen, which I suspect it will.

"At the bottom of League Two, if relegation happens, Stevenage are obviously well adrift at the bottom. You will have some majorly unhappy individuals in these next few weeks.

We're in a position at Salford where we were never going to go down, never going to go up this season. So we're actually sat there in a neutral position where if we could return to football - our players would like to return to football, we would like to return to football safely - but the league can't afford it and we're not sure how to deliver it.

"So it's probably not going to happen. In fact I'd say I'm 99 per cent sure it's not going to happen."