League One rival chairman makes left-field suggestion on how Portsmouth's season should be completed

Accrington chairman Andy Holt has suggested the season could be completed via a Pools Panel-type system to determine the results of remaining fixtures.

Sunday, 19th April 2020, 11:58 am
Updated Sunday, 19th April 2020, 7:36 pm

Holt claims it will cost Stanley £500,000 if the EFL conclude the campaign behind closed doors as planned amid the coronavirus crisis.

If the Pools Panel-typed system went ahead, he says the play-offs should take place behind closed doors.

Another solution Holt mooted was freezing teams’ current league position.

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As things stand, Pompey would qualify for the play-offs. They sit fourth in the League One table and two points outside the automatic promotion places.

But Holt stressed his priority is keeping Accrington – whose trip to Fratton Park on March 14 was postponed – afloat during the precarious financial period.

Speaking to Mail Online, he said: 'As things stand, it will cost us half a million pounds to finish this season, if that's what the EFL decide they want to do.

'I would rather use that money on beginning to rebuild football next season instead of spending three more months now watching it die.

Accrington chairman Andy Holt, left, on stage during the Football Business Awards in 2018. Picture: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Football Business Awards

'We will do whatever we have to do to survive. 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.

'If everyone is playing kids, it will be a farce anyway. Freezing the season as it is now would be more representative of the season than teams playing against a load of kids to complete it.

'I am already thinking about next season. For us, next season could be the bigger disaster. Next season, we are going to have less income and lower crowds and we will have used our cash reserves on playing dead rubbers. The sensible thing is for us to hibernate now and pay the players up. We can survive that way.

'There is no easy solution. In an ideal world, we would finish the season and I accept that for some clubs who are chasing promotion, it will not seem fair if we freeze the season now.

A general view of Accrington's Crown Ground. Picture: Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

'But it is not fair that we have got this virus to put up with and that thousands of people in this country have already died because of it and so many families are suffering.’