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Club Statement - League Two Club Decision To End Season

18 May 2020

At the meeting of League 2 clubs, it was agreed that the 2019/2020 season should be brought to an end. Final positions would be determined by points per game and the play offs would take place and four teams would be promoted.

That view will now be taken to the Board of the EFL and then regulations will need to be drafted to put this into effect. There is nothing in the current regulations which provides for ending a season. The regulations will have to be voted on by all 71 clubs and a 50% majority of all clubs and a 50% majority of the Championship clubs will be required for the regulations to be adopted. A majority of clubs expressed a view that as the season is being terminated early there should be no relegation.

Grimsby Town Football Club were represented by Chairman Philip Day who commented:

“Prior to the meeting, I had obtained the views of my fellow directors and we were unanimous in agreeing that the season should end. Our paramount concern was the health and welfare of our staff and players. The EFL had produced guidelines for return to training which included onerous obligations on clubs. Amongst the obligations was a requirement to have players and ground staff tested at least twice a week with the club doctor present.

"The cost of tests alone was estimated to be £140,000. Our club doctor works in the NHS and our view was that it was unreasonable to take him from his duties there. As soon as the players came back, we would have to have taken them and other staff off furlough at a cost of approximately £200,000. There were other requirements which we and most League 2 clubs could not comply with. The total cost of all the requirements and loss of furlough would have been in excess of £400,000 at a time when we had no income.

"I was in the minority who did not agree that there should be no relegation. If we expected relegation from the Premier League, the Championship and League 1 how could we justify no relegation from League 2? My view is that first the outstanding disciplinary proceedings against Macclesfield for their fourth failure to pay wages should be concluded. Then and only then could the final position at the foot of the table be determined and that the bottom team should be relegated. Even though the majority of the clubs wanted no relegation it is not the end of the matter as the FA and the National League will have to be involved.

"I believe that the regulations to end the season will be passed. At least we have certainty on that. We can now plan the way forward knowing we will have no income from gates and commercial sources for some time. No-one knows when the next season will commence and if and when it does how soon we will be playing in front of crowds. We have prepared several budgets based on different scenarios going forward to ensure that our Club can get through this crisis. There are some difficult decisions to make. Once the budgets have been agreed by the Board then our first responsibility as employers is to speak with the staff and players and seek their support for our proposals. I am sure that with goodwill on all sides we can get through this and ensure that there is still a Grimsby Town Football Club going forward”.

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