Coronavirus – Port Vale chief exec responds to idea of behind-closed-doors games


Port Vale chief executive Colin Garlick says playing behind closed doors would have a ‘significant’ cost to the club as the Vale wait for the latest advice about coronavirus precautions.

The club, like the footballing nation, is waiting to see if a Government/FA directive will be issued for matches to be played without supporters.

Tranmere chief executive Mark Palios has estimated his League One club could lose between £400,000 and £500,000 if games are played without spectators for the rest of the season.

Garlick hasn’t put a figure on what such a rule might cost the Vale, but says it’s important they should follow the medical advice given by the authorities.

He said: “First and foremost, supporter safety is always our first priority, the safety and enjoyment of spectators.”

As for the possibility of playing behind closed doors, he said: “There’s no doubt it would cost us a significant amount. We wouldn’t have match day costs such as matchday staff, but we wouldn’t be taking income. It’s not just ticket revenue, it is for example programmes, pies and merchandise because people come to the club shop on matchdays.

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“So, it would have a significant effect on us as a club, but also on individuals. For matchday staff it is income they may have come to rely on.

“So, it would affect people who derive matchday income from Stoke and Vale matchdays. There would be an effect on the area, a knock on effect on the local economy.”

He said there isn’t an easy solution, adding: “We are going through a process to complete a competition. But the purpose of the competition is for the enjoyment of the supporters, the two go hand in hand.  I wouldn’t want to scrap the competition but equally I wouldn’t want to play behind closed doors.”

However, he added that such considerations or a potential cost to the club has to be put into context. He added: “The finances come secondary to the health and safety and enjoyment of supporters.”

Vale’s remaining home games are against Crawley on Saturday, Bradford on Tuesday, Crewe on March 28, Grimsby on April 10 and Newport on April 18.

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