Peterborough United owner Darragh MacAnthony has expanded on his criticism of the English Football League’s (EFL) handling of the crucial vote on Tuesday that saw the League One and League Two seasons curtailed.
MacAnthony has been outspoken on the process, which saw Peterborough narrowly miss out on a place in the League One play-offs, hitting out at clubs for voting against playing football in what he called a “s*** show” of a situation.
But the Peterborough owner on Wednesday suggested that his club had been misled as the EFL had indicated for several weeks that the season would be completed, leading them to opt against furloughing players.
“Every letter from the EFL stated that we wanted to finish the season and we went along with that,” MacAnthony said on Sky Sports.
“I spoke to Rick Parry, the chairman, in May and I said to him: ‘What are we doing? Things seem to be improving.’ And he said: ‘We want to finish the season, there’s no reason not to finish the season.’ So, again, we went along with that.
“We voted for football. We will always vote for football. I understand the health concerns, but we’ve now been told football is back – the Premier League is back, the Championship is back. The EFL is 71 clubs and we’ve been told we can’t play football so it’s devastation and disappointment.”
MacAnthony also said he was disappointed the EFL had not done more to balance out Tuesday’s bad news by presenting plans to start next season, or to provide financial relief as clubs struggle with the loss of revenue.
“So many things could have been done in the last four or five weeks that weren’t done,” he said. “That’s why I’m disappointed with the EFL. It would have been lovely to find out what are we looking at starting, date-wise.
“Have you, the EFL, had a conversation with the PFA [Professional Football Association] about wage cuts? Because you’re going to have a lot of players unemployed and the PFA are going to have to go to their members and, with what’s happened with the pandemic, you’re going to have to have a wage cut. And we need the PFA’s agreement with that – it’s going to be good for the players, it’s going to keep them in jobs and clubs in survival.
“Has the EFL done a deal on the bailout? We’ve had some really crappy news, so give us some good news for the future.”
It is understood that the EFL and other sports governing bodies are in first-stage discussions with sports minister Nigel Huddleston and Jonathan Van Tam, deputy chief medical officer, about the conditions needed in the country for the partial reopening of stadia to occur. No timetable will be set out at this stage, and no mass gatherings are expected to be allowed until autumn at the earliest.