MPs urge football's bodies to come together to prevent clubs folding

‘Put the squabbling aside!’ MPs urge English football’s governing bodies to come together to prevent as many as 15 lower-league clubs folding due to the coronavirus crisis

  • The EFL rejected the Premier League’s £50m package three weeks ago
  • The offer for clubs in Leagues One and Two was not enough according to the EFL
  • Julian Knight and Oliver Dowden have now urged football’s bodies to unite soon
  • MP Knight said that without financial aid, as many as 10-15 clubs could collapse 

English football’s governing bodies have been urged to ‘put the squabbling aside’ by MPs to prevent clubs folding during the Covid-19 crisis.

Three weeks ago, the English Football League rejected the Premier League’s £50million package for Leagues One and Two, designed to assist clubs affected by the coronavirus pandemic and made up of grants and interest-free loans.

The EFL, led by Rick Parry, said the offer ‘fell some way short’ of what was required, and said any rescue package had to include clubs in the Championship as well.


Rick Parry (chairman of the EFL, left) rejected the Premier League’s (led by chief executive Richard Masters, right) £50m package for clubs in Leagues One and Two three weeks ago

Chairman of the DCMS select committee Julian Knight urged bodies to ‘put squabbling aside’

Julian Knight, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, told the Commons that 10 to 15 lower-rung clubs could collapse due to financial pressures stemming from the pandemic.

He said: ‘Would the minister join me in urging football bodies to follow the example of other sports to finally put the squabbling aside and to come to a proper deal for the good of the game?’

Responding during DCMS questions, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: ‘I agree with him 100 per cent. 

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden is disappointed that an agreement is yet to be reached

‘I am of course very disappointed in the current situation and the inability of football to come to that agreement.

‘It is the case there is already £50m on the table for League One and League Two clubs to stop them falling into financial difficulty, which is a good start.

‘I know that further discussions are taking place and indeed my honourable friend the minister for sport met again with both bodies – the Premier League and the EFL – this week to reiterate the need to reach an agreement in the interest of all fans.’

Parry (right) has warned a ban on gambling sponsorship deals would lead to financial ruin

Meanwhile, Parry told Sportsmail on Wednesday that a ban on gambling sponsorship deals would lead to further financial ruin for clubs.  

‘The timing couldn’t be worse,’ said EFL chairman Parry in an exclusive interview. ‘The situation facing clubs at the moment is pretty dire. Obviously that is Covid related and it’s basically because the Government isn’t allowing us to earn any revenue from our principal sources – gate receipts.

‘But the last thing we need at the moment is restrictions on other valuable sources of income because they can’t be just switched overnight. The priority at the moment is making sure we have clubs surviving come Christmas. But this is definitely an important issue and one that we are paying close attention to.’




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