How key League One figures have reacted to coronavirus postponement and the major concerns raised

The EFL yesterday announced its decision to postpone all games until April 3rd at the earliest as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Darragh MacAnthony has spoken candidly about the postponement of league fixturesDarragh MacAnthony has spoken candidly about the postponement of league fixtures
Darragh MacAnthony has spoken candidly about the postponement of league fixtures

The situation, they said, would be under ‘constant review’.

The decision is likely to have major repercussions throughout the game, with a number of major questions still to be answered in the coming weeks.

A number of prominent figures in League One reacted to the news, reflecting both the relief that the decision had been made, and the uncertainty about what is to come..


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MacAnthony drew attention to the growing crisis before the EFL confirmed their decision to postpone on Friday, revealing on twitter that his manager, Darren Ferguson, did not want to travel to Bolton with one of his players in self-isolation.

MacAnthony went on to tell talkSPORT that he had two players in isolation, and raised concerns about the testing process outside of the Premier League.

“The testing process needs to be quickened up,” he said.

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“That’s what I’m trying to get my head around.”

“I’ll be speaking to my manager this afternoon because we have got two players in isolation.

“We’re saying we’ve got no football for three weeks but do we have an isolation period at the club?

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“Do we bring them all back in next week but we have to have the two players tested because we obviously don’t want it to spread through the training ground?

“The two players have been told to call a number and then they’ve been told to isolate themselves for seven days and that’s all fine and very well but we don’t know if they have it or not.

“So we need to get them tested and we have been ringing our private medical providers and insurers. Some of the bigger clubs in the Premier League are getting all their players tested and if we have to pay to get that done we will as well.

“The guidelines haven’t been clear enough.”

MacAnthony went on to raise concerns about how clubs will manage the shortfall in money during the postponement, which could yet extend well beyond April 3rd.

He said he believes top-tier clubs may have to help.

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“The games will eventually be played and hopefully we’ll reconvene in April and May and finish the season,” he said.

“But there is going to be a financial shortfall for many clubs and cashflow issues.

“The way I look at it... Look, each club in League One and League Two, and lower down – I don’t know how much they’ll need in the Championship – but I guestimate that the average League One and Two clubs are going to need a loan of £300k to £400k grand each.

There’s enough money in football for loans to be made and then you can pay it back over a two or three year period, just to get through this process.

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“This is definitely going to affect clubs. There are going to be wage bills that are going to be tough to pay.

“There are going to be some that are not fortunate enough to keep going so we need to get together and come up with some policies and make sure that no-one goes under because of this virus.”


Holt was one of the first to call for a suspension of games earlier this week.

While he admits there are potentially significant financial implications for the decision, he firmly backed it.

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“I don’t know if I am doing the right thing or the wrong thing asking for games to be postponed but I am doing what I believe to be right for the Accrington management, staff, players and fans and the general health of everyone else,” he said.

“I don’t want to increase the risk for people by coming to our ground, especially as we have a lot of elderly fans at Accrington.

“I also don’t want Coley [manager John Coleman] the players and fans going to an away ground which will increase the risk of them developing Coronavirus.

“It’s important we keep everyone as safe as we can and we have got to approach this correctly.

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“We have got to calm down, keep gatherings down to a minimum and just see how things develop.

“There are more important things in life than football.

“I was upset when Rotherham fan Andy Wilson-Storey was taken ill at our ground in February and later died and we need to be sensible.

“I don’t want to take a chance on the health of anyone and, whether this is proved right or wrong, it’s better to be safe until we know what is exactly going on. There is conflicting medical advice all over the world so we will keep it under review until we know exactly which path to take.”


Catlin fears that it will not be straightforward to complete the League season, but says the decision to pause and take stock was the right one.

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“I think we have to do whatever we can to see a conclusion to the season,” he told the Portsmouth News.

“However, how long is this virus going to be prevalent in society?

“If you go two to three weeks now and it looks like we’re coming out of it, there is still a window to finish.

“But if you go on much longer than that the window is diminishing very rapidly.

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“There’s enough speculation and negativity around, but the window now is welcome and takes the pressure off.

“It gives us space to adapt, but with a 14-day isolation period anyone who contracts this in the next week or two will take them beyond April.

“There is still going to be people contracting it. I’d be amazed if it stops overnight.

“It’s not my nature to be negative, but that has to be a concern.

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“But everyone is working hard at it and in my conversations with people in the EFL, FA and Premier League clubs, there’s a real desire to see a conclusion to the season.”


Bottomley hinted that Rochdale’s cup success, as well as the sale of full-back Luke Matheson to Wolves in January, would protect his club from the financial consequences in the short-term.

But he nevertheless told the BBC that some major decisions may be on the horizon throughout the division.

“We have six home games left and if we don’t play them, we’re looking at a £250,000 hole in our finances at least,” he said.

“I’m worried for the country as much as the football club.

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“First and foremost, as a responsible person acting on behalf of a responsible football club, my sympathy goes out to anyone who has contracted the virus.

“[For the club] it’s worrying for any industry that relies on people paying to come and watch it for the majority of its income.

“We’re a little bit more fortunate than some other clubs because certain things that have happened on and off the pitch this year, we are in a better position to withstand not playing three home games in the next two weeks.

“But I would be worried for a lot of clubs throughout the EFL.

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“What we need is calm from Football League, all the member clubs to be honest with the league, explain where their financial situations are and see what help we can get in the short, medium and long term.”