Ian Evatt Reacts To League Suspension

Ian Evatt Reacts To League Suspension

Ian Evatt’s thoughts on the suspension of the National League

On The National League Suspension Coming Today:

“I was surprised it wasn’t called off on Friday, I just thought that with football, the way decisions were made on Friday in terms of the Premier League and EFL, that the National League would naturally come in line with those.

However, I do understand the reasons behind playing on. I think they were waiting for something like today where the government has basically said that everything needs to stop. So in terms of claiming money back for small clubs and small businesses, it will be a lot easier if they stuck to government protocol.”


On Our Players:

“We’ve given the lads a week off, our training facility we share with Toronto Wolfpack the Super League team. They’ve gone into self-isolation this week and we’ve had one or two that have been suffering with moderate symptoms, we’re not sure if they have or haven’t got it so we’re pretty much in lock down this week.

They’ve been given individual programmes for this week but again that is going to become more difficult because we’re not like Premier League players with treadmills in their houses, these lads have to go to gyms and if the government are saying that you have to avoid social contact then it becomes difficult. Again it’s another obstacle to get over, there is no easy answer. Football is a small part of this, but it is a big part of peoples lives and their futures.”


On A Potential League Extension:

“We’re all extremely worried and it’s the uncertainty of it all really. Listening to conversations with what has been going on in the sports news, I think the National League are slightly different to the Premier League and EFL.

Those leagues may have the grace to wait until September/October, but we have got players that are out of contract in October. We’ve got loan players that make a big difference to our team and also when you don’t play football for a long period of time, to keep them training and keep them match fit without playing games to then go into a nine game season with our promotion on the line, I would argue that is certainly against the integrity of the competition and unfair. There are a lot of questions to be answered and I don’t think there is an easy way out of this.”


On Playing Games Behind Closed Doors:

“In my opinion that would be a waste of time, and it’s only my opinion. For example with my football club, we haven’t been in the Football League for 48 years, there is a lot on the line and I can’t imagine that there will be no Barrow fans turning up outside the ground like at the PSG game the other day.

There is no way they are going to stay away regardless of what the government say and in that case you’re going to need policing, doctors and it just goes against everything the government are saying in terms of that we need all of those professionals to be with the NHS getting over this virus and not at football grounds.”


On What Happens Next:

“We don’t have any timescales at the moment. What we probably do know at the moment is that April 3rd is probably just a date to buy more time, there is certainly no football going to be played on or near that date. What I would like to see happen is for us to be given some sort of specific guidelines around what they are thinking and then at least you can start to make some sort of plan.

Again, going back to the National League, if they’re talking about completing leagues in September/October, there is no way that clubs can function. They live hand to mouth, they need the gate receipts and the money and I don’t see how they can keep paying the wages and contracts for that long with no income or any sort of help.

Speaking to my Chairman today, I do know that for each week past May 4th when some of our players contracts are due to expire, we will lose close to £5000 a week which for our football club is a lot of money.”

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