Stoke City’s survival push could be halted as ‘clubs push for season to be voided’


The pressure on the Football League to cancel the remainder of the season is growing from clubs in League One and Two who are struggling financially and predict more trouble ahead if asked to complete their fixtures.

Sides in the lower reaches of the EFL are already having to put measures in place, including the furloughing of staff and players, just to tick over amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Many clubs live hand to mouth, and depend on the income generated by match-day gate receipts and club shop sales.

The proposal to complete the campaign behind closed doors, then, does not permit either of those streams of revenue to return.

Stoke City have been waiting to follow up their hammering of Hull City last month and still have a battle on their hands to stave off the threat of relegation, but that threat could potentially be drawn out of the equation if clubs in the divisions below the Championship have their way.

In an open letter to supporters earlier this week, EFL chair Rick Parry admitted it remains unclear as to when matches will return, but when they do they’ll be behind closed doors.

Certain clubs, though, would rather football doesn’t return unless its for the beginning of the new season, because of the monetary ramifications to complete the remaining games scheduled.

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Andy Holt, the chairman of League One outfit Accrington Stanley, told the Mail Online : “If it is a choice for us between playing dead rubber fixtures or surviving, we will be surviving.

“The main risk for Accrington Stanley is for the EFL to force us to spend money we have not got on games that do not matter to us.

“I hope it doesn’t come to this but maybe it will get to the point where we are losing points because we have not fielded a team. Even if that gets us relegated, my job is to make sure Accrington Stanley stays afloat.”

As things stand Stoke, under Michael O’Neill, are sitting in 17th but are still only three points above the drop zone with nine matches still left to play.





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