The implications of coronavirus on MK Dons

MK DonsMK Dons
MK Dons | jpimedia
There are more questions than answers at this stage

It was as predictable as it was frustrating, annoying but ultimately the right thing to do - MK Dons will not be playing football for a while.

The EFL and Premier League's decision on Friday to postpone football until early April, when they will look again at the landscape to see whether coronavirus is still on the agenda, throws three games into question for Russell Martin's side - visits to Oxford and Tranmere, either side of a home clash against Gillingham.

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Questions are already flying around though as to what it all means. And frankly, there are precious few answers to the questions people are asking. "Wait and see," is not something modern society does well!

So, what happens to the season now?

Should the world not be in a position to return to normal come May, when the football season is due to end, there are plenty of questions that need answering. Do current league positions count, will Coventry be crowned League One champions, and will Tranmere, Southend and Bolton be relegated? Is the season declared void and if so do Bury get a chance to come back into League One?!

For now, because the season is postponed for three weeks before the next review, these questions cannot be answered. Should football return on April 3, the fixtures will be squeezed in before the final curtain falls in May. Dons have no more Tuesday games between now and the end of the season, so it would mean a busier schedule but it should not be too difficult to reschedule those games.

How long could the delay be?

Hopefully only three weeks, by which time the world will be back to normal... but that is a big 'hopefully' indeed. UEFA meet on Tuesday to discuss what happens on the grander scheme of football, but it could see football extended into May and June or beyond to get the season finished. There is no gospel to say the football season has to end on a specific date, so restarting the season when conditions allow is not out of the question. But should it get that far, it leaves another question...

What about players contracted until the end of the season?

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While the future of the season remains up in the air, so do the futures of the players. A handful of players are out of contract on June 30, 2020. If the season is delayed beyond May 3 - the final scheduled game - there is a period before Dons need to worry about losing players. Loan agreements with Andrew Fisher, Carlton Morris and Louis Thompson though could see the trio return to their parent clubs.

Has anyone at the club been tested positive for coronavirus?

As of Friday, no, no-one has been rested positive for covid-19 at Stadium MK. But as the DoubleTree by Hilton continues to operate, welcoming domestic and international visitors, measures have been in place for a couple of weeks to ensure the players and staff are isolated from the hotel as much as possible.

What is the financial impact on MK Dons?

It's not the first time we've had to ask about the financial impact of games going unplayed this season. Only last month, Dons' scheduled home game against Bury came and went without a ball being kicked. With the Shakers thrown out of the league back in August, Dons made moves to make sure season ticket holders, who had paid for 23 games this season, would have the chance to ask for a refund or to get free tickets to a cup competition instead.

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Of the three games provisionally postponed, only one of them is at Stadium MK. Should the season not restart, Dons would miss out on four home games - Gillingham, Fleetwood Town, Accrington Stanley and Blackpool.

In terms of the club's finances, Dons more than made up for the missing Bury game thanks to the sell-out Liverpool Carabao Cup game, but it may not cover another four games, should they not go ahead.

What about refunds for fans?

Should the season restart, season ticket holders will likely not need a refund as the games will be played after all. Tickets for away travel are still valid, but full refunds are being offered by the club should supporters who have tickets for Oxford or the Tranmere games wish to claim.