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INTERVIEW: Nothing is off the table

EFL board member John Nixon on the potential for talks about a season extension

12 February 2021

With the Blues having suffered their tenth postponement in just 47 days – with both the Leyton Orient and Crawley Town lost to a frozen pitch this week – it leaves them with a packed fixture list and a Saturday-Tuesday schedule between now and the end of the campaign.

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We caught up with EFL board member John Nixon to see if the potential for the season to be extended had been an issue that had or would come under consideration.

“It’s definitely a topic that’s there to be discussed,” he told us. “In terms of getting our season completed as a league, absolutely no topic is a non-starter when it comes to helping us all to facilitate that.

“At Carlisle United we were ready to kick off at 2.30pm the other day for a Tuesday game, so that shows that there’s flexibility and that people are willing to listen if sensible and common-sense solutions are put forward.

“Everyone hopes the vaccines will lead to the virus situation easing, but if clubs do have fixture backlogs to contend with then talks about an extension are definitely not going to be taken off the table.

“Look, being honest, and for a lot of good reasons, extending the season isn’t desirable, but when you see clubs who have small squads, as we have at Carlisle, it will bring pressure if they have to play Saturday-Tuesday and then have to squeeze other games in on top of that as well.

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“A lot of clubs have full weeks between now and May at the moment, and they’ll all face similar pressures, so the EFL will monitor how things are going very closely.”

“There are other topics around this that we need to address,” he continued. “For example normally, if we had a postponed game, we would get a form of compensation to cover the expenses for travelling there and back, but that currently isn’t happening.

“Those expenses would usually come out of the crowd that was going into the away game, but with no crowds that pot of cash isn’t there.

“In our own case we’ve been to Harrogate twice, and halfway to Newport, and we haven’t kicked a ball at any of them. That incurs significant costs which is frustrating when there is no end product. Other clubs are in the same boat, so it’s something we will be looking at.

“To be clear, nobody is actually talking about a season extension as things stand, but we do know that different clubs are facing different issues and we need to be constantly aware of that.”


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