Published: 14:53, 09 June 2021
| Updated: 15:00, 09 June 2021
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has told fans he can't afford to refund season ticket money.
Scally says the issue has given him sleepless nights but, in the current climate, Gills simply don’t have the cash.
Supporters missed out on five home games at the end of the curtailed 2019/20 campaign while the whole of 20/21 was played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an open letter to supporters, Scally said: “The income we received from your early season ticket purchases has played a big part in getting us through to now.
“There is no easy way of saying this but, given our limited incomes since last March 2020, we don’t at present have the ability to refund you, nor can we carry refunds over to next season either given we need season ticket income to get us through the next 3/6 months to when other income streams open up.
“Not a situation I feel comfortable with, in fact I’ve had many sleepless nights worrying about how to address the matter, hence it’s taken so long to write to you all as I was hoping there would have been some greater salvation from within the pyramid of football.
“But, whilst the government has instigated a completely independent review of football finances from the top down, (which we welcome), the end result will be a long way off in my view, so we are on our own in unchartered waters, and must find our own solutions if we are to survive and prosper.”
Scally added: “I understand we have been able to offset your season ticket payments in most instances by allowing you to watch games via iFollow, the official EFL streaming platform, at a value of £10 per game, (£230 per season), and the EFL records show there has been a huge following and uptake from all supporters via that platform, with non-season ticket holders paying full price for the benefit.
"But there is the issue of the balance paid on your accounts over and above this that I need to address, as well as the issues of, firstly the season before and the five games ST holders paid for that did not take place from the end of season 2019/20, and indeed for those that purchased tickets for the abandoned Fleetwood game on March 14th, and the games thereafter.”
Scally is canvassing fans’ views on the way forward, launching an online survey which must be completed by 5pm on June 25.
He said: “It is entirely the decision of each and every individual as to how you wish these issues to be dealt with.
“You know the position the club is in, it’s been covered extensively, and therefore I am going to ask each and every one of you to decide how we progress based on your own thoughts, and I will carry out your personal wishes accordingly, with no judgement being attributed to how you decide.
“I think that is the fairest and only way to proceed, we have received many emails from supporters offering us their ST money paid as donations, offering the club loans, personal help for free and many other offers of help, which is hugely encouraging, but we now need clarity from each individual so we can close off ‘the lost year’ and make positive progress going forward.”