RAITH ROVERS chairman Bill Clark insists the Fifers will be unable to play any games beyond June 10 – because they will only have nine players on the books.
The Stark’s Park chief is desperate to see a swift decision reached on the way forward for Scottish football amid the coronavirus crisis, conceding that the uncertainty is crippling any efforts to plan ahead.
With the game on an indefinite hiatus, doubt abound regarding how the 2019/20 campaign will be resolved, with many clubs – including Celtic – still keen to see the campaign completed if possible.
Clark, however, is adamant contractual issues mean extending the season is simply not a viable solution and wants to see it ended early – echoing the view of Rovers boss John McGlynn.
He said: “We would be left with nine players on our books after June 10 – and two of those are 16 years of age.
“So if by any remote possibility, the Scottish FA and SPFL decide to say ‘we’ll play the games later in the season’ then we wouldn’t be able to field a team. It is simple as that.
“I don’t think it would be viable to extend deals on a week-to-week basis or anything like that.
“We’d contact them and say ‘we can’t fulfil our fixtures, so what do we do now?’
“I’m hoping that there is no way we are going to be told to extend the season and play the fixtures.”
Although every club is in a state of flux, Raith Rovers’ limbo is particularly acute because they do not even know which division they will be playing in next season.
Should the decision be made to end the season early and honour the standings, Rovers will earn promotion to the Championship. That would also be the case if reconstruction, which was mooted yesterday, occurs.
Should the campaign be declared null and void, they will stay in League One.
Clark says that has made it impossible to even consider contract talks with his stars and left them in an ‘unenviable’ position.
He continued: “I had hoped for more certainty regarding what was happening with the leagues in the U.K. by now. We need something in the next few days, we need clarity.
“We can’t make any plans – regardless of how long this situation lasts – unless we know what is going on with the leagues.
“Are Raith Rovers going up to the Championship or are we staying in League One? That has a big effect on our financial planning.
“Contracts are due to be renewed in the summer for a lot of our players and the terms and conditions will be a lot better if we are in the Championship. But we can’t even talk to players right now.
“That leaves them in an unenviable position.”
However, Clark revealed that he has sought to alleviate the fears of his staff by using WhatsApp to assure them that they will be paid.
Raith this week set up a fund-raising page aimed at securing £25,000 of donations to combat the impending shortfall caused by having no gate receipts, hospitality or commercial income.
But Clark added: “I put something into the WhatsApp group to tell the players not to worry about the publicity of the fundraising effort; their wages will definitely be paid at the end of this month.
“These guys have their own concerns and read messages about this shortfall and wondering about the situation. It’s important that staff are reassured and the lines of communication stay open.”