Portsmouth chief hits back at Ipswich Town claims on League One season
The chief executive of Portsmouth has dismissed suggestions that the League One season should be temporarily suspended.
The third tier has been particularly ravaged by Covid-19 in recent weeks, with just seven of the 12 scheduled Boxing Day matches able to go ahead today.
Portsmouth are among the clubs that have been affected by an outbreak, with matches against Swindon Town and Bristol Rovers postponed.
Ipswich Town have been among the most critical clubs of the season continuing, with their physio Matt Byard suggesting a ‘circuit breaker’ pause.
However, Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin has raised concerns about the idea, suggesting it would have very little impact.
He told The News: “I have read many say that we need a circuit break more generally, but I would have serious concerns.
“Football isn’t immune from this virus. It goes hand in hand with and is a microcosm of society.
“My concern would be if we had a circuit break of two-to-four weeks and spent time with our families over Christmas, do we think the situation is going to change in society over that period?
“My concern would be we’re missing time where clubs who fortunately haven’t been affected can continue to play games.”
Portsmouth are out of action until at least January 2, when they are scheduled to play away at Accrington Stanley.
Rochdale yesterday became just the latest club to have to postpone festive matches because of positive Covid-19 cases.
Hull City, Ipswich Town, Peterborough United, Portsmouth and Sunderland have also been affected, making it a quarter of the division’s clubs.
Five Boxing Day matches have been called off: Blackpool v Rochdale, Gillingham v Peterborough, Ipswich v Northampton Town, Portsmouth v Swindon Town and Sunderland v Hull.
A further four are confirmed to have been postponed for the December 29 fixture list: AFC Wimbledon v Ipswich Town, Bristol Rovers v Portsmouth, Hull v Lincoln City and Peterborough v Charlton Athletic.
Two Championship matches are also off for Boxing Day, with Millwall and Rotherham United forced to miss matches away at Bournemouth and Middlesbrough respectively after cases in their camps, while League Two is currently unaffected.