Shrewsbury Town set to back plan to end season - with cost of playing last 10 matches put at £500,000
Shrewsbury Town are one of 17 League One clubs who are ready to vote in favour of the 2019/20 season being ended early - as it was revealed that playing its remaining 10 matches would cost the club about £500,000.
Chief executive Brian Caldwell told the Shropshire Star he does not feel it is morally right to risk the health of the club’s staff – whether players or otherwise – while the country is still struggling to deal with the impact of Covid-19.
The Town chief also said it does not make financial sense for Salop to play their remaining 10 games – with those matches set to cost the club in the region of £500,000.
Yesterday, all 23 League One clubs held a conference call in a bid to find a consensus on how to end the season.
Six clubs want to play on behind closed doors. They are Peterborough, Ipswich, Sunderland, Portsmouth, Fleetwood and Oxford.
But the rest – including Shrewsbury – are in favour of calling time on the campaign now and ending the season by another form of sporting merit – such as points per game.
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“First and foremost I don’t think it’s right to put our players and staff at risk,” Caldwell said.
“We have a duty of care to them and we have to look after them.
“I certainly don’t feel comfortable bringing them back in and putting them at risk.
“We have received guidance which is 47 pages, it is quite concise.
“It says the players should only train in groups of five, they are to arrive in their kit, they are to be screened on arrival.
“They are not allowed in the dressing rooms to use the toilet, they are not allowed in the restaurant, the gym is to be closed.
“Physiotherapy is to be minimal, they are not allowed to have any contact.
“They can do some shooting drills etc, etc. But what they can do is actually very limited.
“Bringing our staff into a risk situation – whoever it might be – we have to think about that very carefully.
“Dave Edwards said in his interview this week how he would have concerns about coming back. We have got to do the right thing.
“ These are unprecedented circumstances we are in.
“How does it look for football to come back and take an ambulance for games?
“To have a doctor there to facilitate that, taking them away from the NHS.
“There are many parts of this I am just not comfortable with.”
It was revealed yesterday it will cost clubs in League One around £140,000 to test players for coronavirus.
And Caldwell believes that figure will have “scared” a lot of teams.
“Prior to our meeting, we were issued with a draft guidance on how clubs could return to training and potentially play in the future which probably would have scared a lot of clubs,” the chief executive continued.
“The test regime, which is centrally arranged, was costed out and each club would have to pay between £125,000 and £140,000.
“The EFL still want to play the season if possible and safe to do so and they want to leave it to the clubs to decide if there is any curtailment of the season.
“There are some clubs in and around the play-off positions who are adamant they should play.
“However from our club’s perspective, to play the remaining 10 games from a cost point of view with the potential of no crowds – you look at the cost of testing, the lack of furlough money, the cost of hosting games, the cost of travel to games – which will be three or four buses because we can’t travel on one bus to stick to social distancing rules.
“You are probably looking at the best part of half a million pounds to play the remaining games.”