Grimsby Town have become the first club to publicly suggest a suspension to the 2020/21 season due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Grimsby Town Chief Calls for Season Suspension
Badly Affected Mariners
Yesterday, Town confirmed the postponement of their next three fixtures due to midfielder Jock Curran returning a positive COVID-19 test.
As per Government health guidelines, Curran has entered a period of self-isolation. He trained alongside his team-mates earlier this week, meaning the entire squad must also enter self-isolation.
Therefore, this leaves the Mariners unable to play their next three fixtures. The matches postponed are today’s trip to Cheltenham Town, their EFL Trophy game against Hull City and potentially the visit of Bradford City next week.
The Mariners must also close their Cheapside training ground for the next 14-days.
Grimsby Town chairman Philip Day has since revealed the orders issued by the EFL regarding the situation.
Speaking to BBC Radio Humberside (via the Grimsby Telegraph), he said: “We were originally told by the EFL’s medical team that there were two alternatives – shut down for 10 days and have a test after nine (days), and if everybody’s negative after that test, then subject to Bradford agreeing, we could play on the Saturday.
“I’ve now had an email from the EFL’s medical team saying they have now amended that advice, and the training ground has to be shut down for 14 days.”
The EFL then added that it was calling off the Grimsby Town v Bradford City fixture, as a precaution.
Grimsby’s match is the second scheduled League Two game to succumb to a COVID-19 affected postponement. Earlier this week, several of Leyton Orient’s players tested positive for Covid-19, thereby forcing the cancellation of their match at Walsall.
This follows the disappointment of Orient’s expulsion from the Carabao Cup after being unable to participate in their tie with Tottenham Hotspur due to the positive tests.
Unhappy Leyton Orient
Leyton Orient chairman Nigel Travis spoke about the issue before the decision to award Tottenham a bye into the next round.
Travis – in BBC Radio 5 Live interview – highlighted that Orient voluntarily tested their players, so should not receive a punishment.
“This is an incentive not to test and that is bad for football and bad for health and safety.
“That’s why we can’t be punished over this,” said Travis.
In a seemingly contradictory claim to that of Travis, The Daily Mail say the charges relate to “allegations that they (Leyton Orient) breached rules by not testing and isolating sick players, which resulted in the failure to fulfil a fixture”.
Day Wants Season Suspension
Meanwhile, Day has gone a step further, asking for the League Two season to be suspended.
“We have no fans, and to be faced with an extra £5,000 a week (for testing), well really we should be closing down,” Mr Day told BBC Radio Humberside (via the Grimsby Telegraph).
“We were never asked whether we wanted to restart, we were told we had to restart.”
When pressed further, Day admitted that Grimsby Town’s existence could eventually be in doubt. This is unless the Government permits the return of paying crowds to football grounds. This is a warning that many lower league football clubs are issuing all around the country. After all, without paying fans, clubs have lost the majority of their revenue.
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