Orient chairman Travis only sees slim chance of the current season resuming
- Credit: Archant
Leyton Orient chairman Nigel Travis is predicting as little as a 10 per cent chance of the League Two season resuming due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Travis, who operates several businesses including Dunkin Donuts, has been relating it to his other companies and sees it as a slim chance of the campaign being finished.
But he did admit he hopes to be proved wrong and says a decision must be made extremely soon to encounter for players contracts and planning for the future.
“Reading what’s going on every day, running businesses of different types every day, I personally would give it less than 10 per cent that we will play out the season,” Travis told the club’s YouTube channel.
“That’s my view, I hope I’m wrong as I want to see some football.
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“I think we need to make a decision in the next few weeks because the way player contracts work, if a player is out of contract at the end of June, the way it works is there is an extra month thrown in if you haven’t got a new club.
“The way to think about it is the contracts really go until the end of July, so we’ve got until the end of July, and Rick Parry (EFL chairman) says we’ve got 56 days to play the games so that goes until the middle of June then there is a three-week period where clubs have said they need to get players fit again, which is close to the end of May.
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“We need to make a decision fairly quickly.”
Speculation about the season being continued behind closed doors has been going on for weeks and the chairman insists that will entirely depend on how the players feel about returning.
Although he did say to operate a match it will be similar to what the Bundesliga laid out, with still more than 200 people inside the ground.
“I think to be fair we don’t really know what that means, but I’m going to use the proposed Bundesliga plans,” he added.
“There was an exact calculation on how many people would be in the ground – 243 I think it was, so that’s what it means.
“It’s interesting to see how the players react to this because any club, not just Leyton Orient, have got young men, some with wives who are pregnant or some have got illnesses or health issues. Our first concern should be is it a healthy environment to play in?”
It was revealed if the games do take place behind closed doors the O’s are equipped and prepared to stream their matches for the public to view.
“If it does take place, Leyton Orient are in a better position than many as streaming is one of our core assets,” said Travis.
“The only way fans could see it is by having it streamed.”
The Papa John’s board member has also revealed the financial impact that the coronavirus pandemic and the pause of play could have on clubs around the country.
“The first thing I would say is there is a couple of words we need to talk about, one is liquidity, and this is something every business in the world is facing,” he said.
“Liquidity is how you get through the crisis and I think we’ve done a really good job under Danny (Macklin’s) leadership of saving costs, simple things like the electricity bill, the water bill, the gas bill are all down significantly at the moment, and we have taken advantage of the government’s furlough programme.
“We’ve done all that, we’ve had great relationships with some of our suppliers, I think it’s worth saying we’ve got a great relationship with our landlord.
“Barry Hearn has been, and always has been, very supportive, so short-term liquidity we’re fine, some other clubs are struggling despite the same advantages.
“I think the real problem is long-term solvency and some clubs may not make it, particularly if we have to play all of next season behind closed doors or with a restricted attendance, they’re two options that we need to look at as a club.”
But the chairman does however feel the financial implications will force football to become more sustainable.
“The bottom line is football will come out better from this, the discussions that Danny has touched on previously have been fantastic, I’ve got some good new friends now,” he said.
“Football is going to correct itself, it’s going to do what is needed, and when I spoke at the meet the chairman meeting in January or February we spoke about how football needed to become more sustainable and I’m more confident now it’s going to become more sustainable.”