Gary Neville '99 per cent sure' League Two season will not return

Gary Neville.Gary Neville.
Gary Neville.
'There are going to be some very unhappy people in the next few weeks if the points-per-game method is used.'

Salford City co-owner Gary Neville is '99 per cent sure' that the 2019-20 League Two campaign will not return due to the financial burden faced by clubs.

The Athletic reported earlier today that the EFL will tell clubs in League One and Two that there is 'no chance' of playing the remaining fixtures and they will be asked to vote on how to decide promotion and relegation.

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The Bundesliga in Germany is set to return next week while the Premier League and Championship also hope to resume their seasons, however Neville, who co-owns Northampton's League Two rivals Salford, believes that is simply not feasible in the bottom two tiers.

"I said a few weeks ago I think it's extremely unlikely League One and League Two will play football," Neville told Sky Sports. "We know the Bundesliga and the measures they're putting in place to allow football to happen. It's going to cost a lot of money. And the same with the Premier League.

"We're talking millions of pounds to invest in what would be health and safety protocols, neutral venues, all the logistics, the hotel costs of keeping club people and players in as safe environments as possible will be huge costs to the Bundesliga and the Premier League. And League One and League Two can't fund that. The clubs won't fund that.

"You've obviously got added complexities that 50 per cent of players in League One and League Two are out of contract in two months and ultimately clubs don't want to pay them beyond those contracts so there will be no extensions available.

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"I think also there's just a lack of willingness at League One and League Two levels to take the risk and go through all the economic risks. There will be no fans in stadiums, you'd have to pay players appearance money and bonus money - and the clubs haven't got the money.

"The only way in which football could happen in League One and League Two is if our friends in the Premier League were able to fund football for League One and League Two but I'm not sure at this moment in time they've got their own ship in order, so they're not going to look after League One and League Two and League Two."

The Athletic also reported that a points-per-game method is likely to be used to decide the final placings.

"There are going to be some very unhappy people in the next few weeks if the points-per-game method is used," said Neville.

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"There will be some pain at the top but that pain will multiply for teams at the bottom if that starts to happen, which I suspect it will.

"At the bottom of League Two, if relegation happens, Stevenage are obviously well adrift at the bottom. You will have some majorly unhappy individuals in these next few weeks.

"We're in a position at Salford where we were never going to go down, never going to go up this season. So we're actually sat there in a neutral position where if we could return to football - our players would like to return to football, we would like to return to football safely - but the league can't afford it and we're not sure how to deliver it.

"So it's probably not going to happen. In fact I'd say I'm 99 per cent sure it's not going to happen."

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