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Catlin Opposed To Regionalised Leagues

Chief executive reacts to idea for divisional reform

28 April 2020

Mark Catlin has expressed doubts about the idea of regionalised football, despite the ‘commercial sense’ such a plan could offer.

A number of possible scenarios have been put forward by football chiefs to combat the uncertain future caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley has broached the idea of League One and Two clubs operating in a southern and northern format.

Such a plan would mean a reduction in overnight stays and travel expenses, with the Cod Army owner particularly keen to avoid long midweek trips.

But Catlin is less enthused by the idea, pointing out that the promotion race would become far more congested.

Pompey’s chief executive said: “If the sides were to go into a ‘north’ and ‘south’ pot then personally I wouldn’t be up for it.

“I agree it might make commercial sense, but I am looking after the vested interests of Portsmouth Football Club.

"If the sides were to go into a ‘north’ and ‘south’ pot then personally I wouldn’t be up for it."

Mark Catlin

“Normally a League One club would have a three out of 24 chances of gaining promotion to the Championship.

“If the following season was to adopt this regional format, then I assume there would be a three in 48 chance.

“So selfishly, for Pompey, I would like to stick to the status quo. That’s my opinion, but on the flip side I can see the benefits of having a ‘north’ and ‘south’ league – not least for travelling supporters.

“They wouldn’t have to travel up to, say, Fleetwood or Blackpool on a Tuesday night, so there is logical commercial sense, along with the fact you would have more local derbies.

“I can, therefore, see the rationale in that. However, our fans seem to like Saturday trips to the bigger clubs such as Sunderland and they generally occupy more League One spaces than League Two.

“Ultimately, we are one of 72 clubs and bound by the decisions that the EFL make, but I would personally rather stick with the existing structure.”

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