Port Vale’s League Two promotion rivals Plymouth Argyle are opposed to finishing the season behind closed doors.
That’s been made clear in a message from the club’s owner Simon Hallett.
The EFL would like to finish games this summer with matches played behind closed doors and streamed live to fans. That will all depend on government guidelines about coronavirus precautions.
But Hallett has questioned whether football would be safe for players if not considered safe for supporters.
He told his club’s website: “We do not want to play behind closed doors and believe that a resumption of football should not take place until it is safe for crowds to come and watch.
“That is partly for financial reasons; we need the revenues generated on match-day to pay the players – and no crowds means no revenues, unless some other body is prepared to fund our expenses.
“More importantly, if it is not safe for a crowd to watch a contact sport, how can it be safe for a participant? We would respect any individual player who said he did not want to play until assured it was completely safe.
“We suspect, therefore, that this season will not be completed in the normal way – by playing the remaining matches.
“Alternatives include completely voiding the season, or halting it now, with those in the promotion positions being promoted (after adjusting for games in hand, based on average points per game already earned). This would mean promotion to League One for Argyle, but, believe it or not, that is not our priority. We think this is the fairest solution to an impossible situation. Note that we do not suggest relegation based on current league positions.”
Plymouth are third in the table, five places above the Vale. The two teams had been due to meet at Home Park this weekend in their final game of the regular League Two season but the EFL and Premier League campaigns were suspended on March 13.
The EFL has advised its clubs not to ask players to return for training until May 16 at the earliest. But that date could be put back depending on government guidelines.
Hallett’s view echoes that of Philip Day, a director at another of the Vale’s League Two rivals, Grimsby Town.
He told Grimsby Live: “There are a lot of clubs in League Two who are now saying that, for players’ safety if nothing else, we ought to be looking at ways of closing the season down.”