The clubs Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin believes hold key to deciding fate of EFL season

Mark Catlin is confident a majority can still be won to complete Pompey’s season on the pitch.

Saturday, 23rd May 2020, 7:30 am
Updated Saturday, 23rd May 2020, 7:40 am

And the Blues’ chief executive is adamant there’s enough clubs sitting on the fence over next week’s EFL vote to avoid the campaign being curtailed.

League One sides will begin the process of deciding the way forward next week, after the league announced the two options for deciding the division on Thursday.

That means choosing between Pompey and the league’s preferred choice of seeing out the term in the traditional fashion, or deciding positions on unweighted points per game.

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The likes of Sunderland, Oxford United, Fleetwood, Peterborough, Ipswich and Gillingham and Tranmere want to play on.

Others such as Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, MK Dons, Lincoln and even struggling Southend could be convinced to follow suit.

That gives Catlin hope for finishing the season safely on the pitch.

He said: ‘It’s a difficult situation but we continue to press with a number of other clubs to actually finish the season on the pitch, under government guidelines and when safe to do so. We have been consistent in that view.

Pompey CEO Mark Catlin

‘If you do the maths I would say there are nine or 10 who are firmly in the let’s play category.

‘It only takes another couple to come onside with a handful undecided in the middle.

‘It’s about trying to make as compelling a case as possible to those clubs who are currently wavering to vote to carry on.

‘If they don’t vote to carry on we have to appreciate that then becomes the majority rule of the EFL.

‘Like it or not and as sickening as it would be we would have to then accept that decision.

‘But there’s more than a couple still on the fence.’

A figure of between £350,000 and £450,000 has been mooted as the cost to clubs for playing on this term.

Catlin feels League One members need to be convinced they would not be left footing that bill if they decide that’s the right course of action to take.

The Blues chief executive highlighted how that figure could be dwarved by the costs of curtailing third-tier football.

Catlin added: ‘It’s easy to know at this moment what it will cost in terms of putting the games, in terms of taking players off furlough and testing.

‘Each club will be broadly the same in that area, because the kits cost the same and there’s a £2,500 furlough cap.

‘But we don’t know what the cost is for cancelling in regards of impact on the Sky TV deal, loss of sponsorship, revenue, money for season-ticket holders whether by refund or credit and potential iFollow income.

‘If we can get to a break-even figure surely it’s better to finish the season, because the new season isn’t that far away.

‘The longer we delay playing now the more we’re going to be kicking back next season. We could carry the same arguments over in regards of testing and unfurloughing players in two months’ time.

‘I struggle to see what the cost differences are going to be in eight weeks’ time.’