League One chief has warning about break in fixtures amid rising infection numbers

Rochdale’s chief executive has warned he believes a temporary break in League One is ‘inevitable’.

Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 2:28 pm

There has been growing calls for a ‘circuit break’ in the EFL as a result of growing Covid-19 infection numbers across the country and David Bottomley has warned he thinks it could happen.

So far a total of 34 League One matches have been called off, including four Sunderland games.

Bottomley told BBC Manchester: "Surely just for a month until the vaccine starts to get rolled out, we could have a break.

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Charlie Wyke in action for Sunderland.

"[Suspending the league] is inevitable. Hospitals across the UK are being told they are to face a massive surge in Covid cases so who are we in football to be trying to add to that situation?

"My fear, in common with that of a number of other League One chief executives I spoke to on Friday, is that there will be so many players test positive that we'll almost have to suspend the season.

"Human life is far more important than whether we play football matches, surely.

"I'm talking from personal experience. My 85-year-old mother has tested positive and has been in hospital from the beginning of December with Covid. It's best football takes a break and step back."

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson was asked prior to the Northampton Town draw what his thoughts were over fixture congestion facing clubs and whether there should be a pause.

On fixture congestion, he said: "That is a lot to fit in in those periods, particularly given our Fleetwood game has been called off. I think it's going to take some algorithm or brain-box to potentially slot in fixtures which haven't normally been done - or potentially extend the season which is an option open to the EFL.”

And should there be a pause?

Johnson said: “I have no idea. I think it's like the winter break thing, you could end up having a pause and it doesn't change anything anyway. It's like that where they say give them a rest, but then you get snow in February and the games are called off again.

"I don't know with that one. I'm quite upfront with my opinions, but I think that one has to be guided by the science."

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