‘Settle season on the pitch not in a committee room’ – Port Vale hopes



Port Vale’s chief executive Colin Garlick says his club is keen to finish the current season, but has warned that becomes more complicated the longer the campaign is suspended.

Garlick has spoken to The Sentinel following reports in the national media that, because of financial problems, some League One and Two clubs would prefer to cancel the season rather than let it go beyond the end of June.

The EFL say they want to finish the season but don’t know when that will be because of the coronavirus crisis. But they expect games to be behind-closed-doors and broadcast live to supporters.

Garlick says some lower division clubs genuinely fear they could go out of business because they rely heavily on matchday income. However, he says Vale are luckier than most because of the financial support of owners Carol and Kevin Shanahan. 

The chief executive says one issue with extending the season is the number of players across the divisions who are due to be out of contract on June 30.

He said: “Everybody would like to complete the season if we possibly can. We are the same. If it is absolutely possible, practical and safe to complete the season, we would really like to do that.

“On June 30 there are going to be a significant number of players out of contract – I think the conservative number across the Football League is something like 1,400.

“If you take them out of the equation then the competition is going to be somewhat different than the competition that we have just completed 75 or 80 per cent of.

“So, people then start to talk about the integrity of the competition. But does the integrity of the competition come secondary given the situation we are in?

“We are hoping to complete it, but playing behind closed doors is not necessarily going to generate the money we would normally enjoy in games where we have crowds.”

As for contracts, he was hoping there would be an agreement across all clubs internationally, but says that’s unlikely to happen. 

He said: “It is probably going to have to be done on an individual basis, I don’t think there is anything collectively that can be done.”

Garlick says not finishing the season would create problems as to how league places could be decided.

He said: “If you do points average then, when you are 80 per cent into a season, you could make arguments for and against.

“For example, look at Tranmere. If you were to do average points now they would probably be relegated. But they have won their last three games so could say they were hitting form and were confident they would get out of it.

“They are all valid arguments and who is to say they wouldn’t?”

He added: “My preference would always be to try to settle things on the pitch rather than in a committee room.”

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