League One chief offers a positive update on the prospects of Sunderland's season being completed

Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin believes that only ‘a couple’ of clubs will need to agree to finishing the League One season in order for it to be completed.

Pompey are one of a number of sides – including Sunderland, Peterborough and Tranmere – who have been vocal in their desire to see the 2019/20 season played to a conclusion.

And while it has widely been reported that the campaign is likely to be curtailed, Catlin believes that there is still hope that the remaining fixtures will be played.

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Clubs are set to vote on the outcome of the season in the coming weeks and, with a number of clubs still on the fence, Catlin feels that it will only require a small number of these sides to agree to complete the season in order to obtain a majority – which would ultimately see League One continue.

Portsmouth chief Mark Catlin has offered a positive on completing the League One seasonPortsmouth chief Mark Catlin has offered a positive on completing the League One season
Portsmouth chief Mark Catlin has offered a positive on completing the League One season

“It’s a difficult situation but we continue to press with a number of other clubs to actually finish the season on the pitch, under government guidelines and when safe to do so,” said the Portsmouth chief, speaking to The News.

“We have been consistent in that view. If you do the maths I would say there are nine or ten who are firmly in the let’s play category. It only takes another couple to come onside with a handful undecided in the middle.

“It’s about trying to make as compelling a case as possible to those clubs who are currently wavering to vote to carry on.

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“If they don’t vote to carry on we have to appreciate that then becomes the majority rule of the EFL.

“Like it or not and as sickening as it would be we would have to then accept that decision.

“But there’s more than a couple still on the fence.”

Catlin also believes that greater clarity over the cost of cancelling games could convince clubs to back plans to finish the season.

“It’s easy to know at this moment what it will cost in terms of putting the games, in terms of taking players off furlough and testing,” he added.

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“Each club will be broadly the same in that area, because the kits cost the same and there’s a £2,500 furlough cap.

"But we don’t know what the cost is for cancelling in regards of impact on the Sky TV deal, loss of sponsorship, revenue, money for season-ticket holders whether by refund or credit and potential iFollow income.

“If we can get to a break-even figure surely it’s better to finish the season, because the new season isn’t that far away.

“The longer we delay playing now the more we’re going to be kicking back next season. We could carry the same arguments over in regards of testing and unfurloughing players in two months’ time.

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“I struggle to see what the cost differences are going to be in eight weeks’ time.”