Furious Eastleigh manager accuses National League bosses of greed after the organisation chose to play on with this weekend’s fixtures.
Ben Strevens said there was ‘no way whatsoever’ matches should have gone ahead given the coronavirus pandemic, with the Premier League, EFL and a variety of leagues across the world suspended.
Eastleigh manager Ben Strevens is furious with the National League, accusing them of greed for playing games amid the coronavirus pandemic pic.twitter.com/RMr1GBnwOi
— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) March 14, 2020
He said: “The reason National League games went ahead and the EFL games didn’t go ahead and the Premier League games didn’t go ahead is because whoever sits on the board of the National League cared about money. Simple as that.
“For the well-being of the spectators and it’s not only players because they’re young, fit athletes. It’s nothing to do with that.
“It’s the supporters who come here – and it’s not only the supporters, we’ve got a kitman who is an old boy.
“I looked around today and there’s stewards that are older. They’re the ones that are most at risk from this virus.
“There’s no way whatsoever these games should have been played.
“If the EFL are not playing them and if the Premier League are not playing them, then the National League shouldn’t be playing them.”
Responding to Strevens’ comments, National League chief executive Michael Tattersall told the PA news agency: “It’s not really a time for having an argument, it’s a time for reflecting on what’s happening in our society.
“We’re going to put out our own statement thanking everybody for their efforts today and sending everybody who is suffering from the virus or self-isolating all our best wishes.”
No one wants your thanks. https://t.co/mDV3zfABCf
— Ben Strevens (@strevs12) March 14, 2020
Eastleigh chief executive Kenny Amor added: “From what I understand, I think there was a fair bit of pressure put on the National League to try and go ahead with fixtures, just because of the revenue generated by matchdays and how much it means to the cashflow for clubs in our position.
“We were less concerned about games being on. We’ve been more affected by our events business and cancellations within that.
“I mean, we are concerned because our last two home games have been called off, so we’re going to potentially go through the whole of March without a home game.
“It does really affect our cashflow, but people’s health is more important.
“It’s more important that the right decisions are made, so we’ll get on with it. It’s just how long something like this could last. Where’s the end?”
Neal Ardley said after their 4-0 win over Eastleigh: “I don’t think I have a personal opinion that I really should be saying.
“It’s really important at this point to say that there’s a lot of people that make the decisions as to whether these games go ahead or not that have got a lot more facts and data over the risks and rewards than I have.
“We abide by it and if they decide after today that it’s not to be, for a shutdown, then we’ll abide by that as well.”
Fans and players gave their reaction as the furious Eastleigh manager accuses National League bosses of greed…
Well done Ben ! Not a great score but sympathetic with the situation you find yourselves in ! Dreadful decision by the NL ?? #onceabeealways
— haysbang (@hayhive) March 15, 2020
Totally agree mate . Health should always always come first .
— alan julian (@jules_alan) March 15, 2020
The game shouldn’t of been on, and hopefully that wasn’t the last game of the season. I drove up to Nottingham to support the team with @jaysond14 @Smithy1019 wasn’t the result we wanted but hopefully we can go again ??
— Ahmad Hussain (@AhmadEFCVlogs) March 14, 2020
See no issue at all with yesterday's games
— carl price (@83Carl) March 15, 2020
If they had won the game I'm sure different answers would have been had.
— steve marshall (@stema_steve) March 14, 2020
Why is the football industry any different to others?
I still have to go to work Monday and there will be more people working there than attended Meadow Lane today. When we're all shut down, come back and quote facts
— sevs66 (@mgsevs) March 14, 2020
I was there I will let you know if I get ill. Sorry but I think media is fanning the flames of hysteria. Common sense should be king
— Brian Mawby (@Bri22anMawby) March 14, 2020
I think it’s less about greed than a desire to survive. National League clubs, and also rugby league clubs playing in Super League and Challenge Cup, run so close to the edge that the loss of revenue from a shutdown would send some clubs to administration and possibly kill others
— Max Levy (@Sports_Realist) March 15, 2020
In what way have they benefited today? Please enlighten me?
Typical response from ill informed social media kings
— sevs66 (@mgsevs) March 14, 2020
Cos his side were shit.
— darran rigley (@bigdaz_rigley) March 14, 2020
He's crying because his team got lamped 4-0 nothing to see here..
— Callum (@NottsGeezer) March 14, 2020