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Elgin City chairman Graham Tatters says he would have preferred his club not to be kicking off the League 2 campaign today

By Craig Christie

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IF Elgin City chairman Graham Tatters had his way, his club might not be starting their League 2 campaign today.

Elgin City chairman Graham Tatters. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Elgin City chairman Graham Tatters. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

While the SPFL were deliberating ways on how to get football played in line with Covid-19 restrictions, Tatters was keen to keep it closed down.

But Elgin would have faced the possibility of relegation back to the Highland League if they had refused to fulfil their fixtures over safety fears and a threat to the club's future.

With fans not allowed into stadiums and issues over players travelling the length and breadth of the country, Tatters questioned if it was worth playing this season.

He weighed up the financial implications of paying players' wages and expenses when there was no money coming into the club.

"I just asked the question, what if a team doesn’t play?" he said. "We were going to take a vote and before it started I just wanted to clarify the situation.

"I was told that if you didn’t play, you would have been sanctioned according to the rules of the SPFL, which I understand.

"You would lose each game, a 3-0 defeat and you would be sanctioned. The problem was that if you didn’t play, there is still going to be a team 42 and we would end up being that team 42 and in the play-off situation.

"So it was a non-starter."

All of City's League 2 rivals voted to try and play a season under the 'new normal' conditions, with no crowds for the foreseeable future.

Tatters said his club had no choice but to go with the flow and agree to play, and today they make the long journey to Stranraer for their opening match of a shortened, 27-fixture campaign.

The City chair explained his reluctance for the Black and Whites to enter the competitive field in current circumstances.

"I just feel in the position we are in at the moment, that to start playing with all the problems with transport, and also with no crowds - we are in the entertainment industry and with no spectators, who are we entertaining?

"We as a football club will manage to pay the players for this season, but what happens next season? We will have nothing in, and the manager comes to be for a budget and we don’t know what we are going to do.

"I just felt that we could have delayed it or done several other options but all the other clubs voted to start so that was that, nine to one and I had to say yes, we will go ahead.

"But I am concerned. We are a club with loads of ambition but it’s got to be sustainable and as a chairman of a football club I am there to protect the interests of the shareholders.

"If I am not protecting that I am not doing my job.

"I just feel that playing without any revenue coming in is putting the club in a position of jeopardy."

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