Matthew Tipton rejects fears over player wages on football return

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton has rejected fears player costs will prove damaging to clubs if given the green light for a return to football.

By Patrick Van Dort
Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 1:00 pm
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton.
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton.

The Danske Bank Premiership teams will meet tonight, with a vote expected based on proposals to finish the season by the NIFL Steering Group.

The Ports - the current Bluefin Sport Championship leaders - will join other clubs from the two divisions below senior level for additional talks as officials attempt to finalise a plan for UEFA this week.

The option of completing two fixtures to meet the UEFA measure for sporting integrity has been suggested, with some clubs voicing reservations based on prohibitive costs.

But Tipton views the furlough scheme in place as a support system covering player wages.

“If I take Portadown as an example, the furlough scheme covered costs for the outstanding six weeks of any 38-week contracts in place and our Board of Directors managed to top up to the 100 per cent mark,” said Tipton. “Furlough has provided wages during lockdown, essentially in advance of games we hope can now be played.

“In terms of the costs required to meet health and safety protocols, we accept that is a significant job but one which must be handled either to finish this current campaign or allow next season to kick off, so unavoidable.”

Tipton, however, would appeal to the game’s officials to help ease the potential financial burden by taking the cost of match officials off the clubs.

“I think it would be a fitting gesture from those at the top of our game,” said Tipton. “This is an unprecedented situation so that example of financial support would be welcome across the board.

“No-one wants to null and void the season, so settling the standings based on a points system offers another avenue if we cannot get back on the pitch.

“We have been top for the majority of the season so would feel deserving of promotion but, ultimately, the real result would be getting out on the pitch and getting over the line.

“I’m confident every player would be relishing that chance and two games would help ease the physical commitments compared to fitting in seven games over a few weeks within the IFA extension to July 31.

“For just two games we would probably provide individual programmes until contact group training is an option.”

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