The Dons Trust voice stadium build concerns as coronavirus pandemic has impact on League One club

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

The Dons Trust have issued a statement about the coronavirus pandemic – and admit it could affect their building of a new stadium at Plough Lane.

The trust run AFC Wimbledon and say they will have to be “pretty ruthless” with some of their plans for this year.

The domestic football authorities have suspended any fixtures until at least April 30 and there is also the huge economic impact of the virus which is being felt right across society.

The Dons Trust, whose board and officers are all volunteers, said: “Many of us are having to work through a crisis situation in our own day jobs and to manage the consequences for our families and ourselves, as well as overseeing the trust and club.

“Please bear with us while we adjust to these new circumstances.

“We are going to have to be pretty ruthless with the priorities we recently set ourselves as a board for 2020.

“Some of the things that looked to be ‘must-do’ only a week or two back will no doubt slip down into ‘nice-to-do’ or even deferred to 2021. There will be some disappointments in terms of what we achieve over the coming months, but it is better to manage that proactively rather than inadvertently let things fall by the wayside.

“As well as working through the consequences for the club on the playing field, there is also the question of whether construction projects such as our new stadium can keep going (as is the case at present) and whether we can complete the funding at a difficult time in the financial markets and for football.

“Dons Trust members will be aware that the football season has been suspended. We wait to hear from the football authorities whether and when it will resume and what the ramifications will be for next season. I’m sure we all feel that the suspension of football has left a bit of a hole in our lives, but there are clearly more important things for us all to worry about at a time like this.

“The club is also having to consider the immediate practical consequences of managing the office and stadium remotely and mitigating the financial consequences of loss of revenue. Undoubtedly, the financial measures announced by the EFL, and separately the government, will be helpful in managing the short-term consequences.

“The Dons Trust Board is liaising closely with Joe Palmer (AFC Wimbledon CEO) and his management team on all these matters. Inevitably, it will be a little bit of time before we have clarity on how things will play out but, with Joe, we will do our best to keep fans and members abreast.”

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