Six Championship clubs have told Sky Sports News that if there is no financial bailout forthcoming they fear for the survival of their club.
In a survey carried out by Sky Sports News, eight clubs also say they have, or will have to, make club staff redundant.
The figures come after EFL clubs across all three divisions discussed proposals from top Premier League clubs for ‘Project Big Picture’, which would see radical changes to the game with a £250m bailout and a re-distribution of money to EFL clubs in the future.
‘Project Big Picture’ proposals
- Premier League reduced to 18 clubs
- No EFL Cup or Community Shield
- Special status for nine longest serving clubs – ‘Big Six’, Everton, West Ham, Southampton
- Only six of the nine longest-serving clubs need to vote for major change
- £250m immediate compensation for EFL
- Figure also represents coronavirus financial bail-out
- Club who finishes 16th in Premier League to replace sixth-placed Championship club in EFL play-offs
- Premier League to commit 25 per cent of future revenue to EFL
One Championship club told Sky Sports News: “Our survival is absolutely reliant on a financial support package, there is only so much longer we can continue like this.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said that he had received assurances that no EFL club would be allowed to go into administration.
“Just to be clear, I have had the assurance, from the EFL, that they would not allow clubs to go bust in the short run,” said Dowden, who was questioned by The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Wednesday.
“That is not a Government assurance, that is assurances I have received from the sport.”
The EFL said there was “overwhelming support to discuss the Project Big Picture proposals further”, with chairman Rick Parry having been a vocal advocate of the plan.
But there are concerns that Parry’s remarks have frustrated the Premier League and that could jeopardise a potential bailout. One board member at a Premier League club says the feeling among the majority of teams in the division is that Parry should now resign.
Dowden urged the Premier League and the English Football League to finalise a bailout package and described Project Big Picture as a “a distraction at best from that”.
He said the proposals within the drive to reform English football – led by Liverpool and Manchester United and supported by most EFL clubs – “tended towards a closed shop” in favour of the big six.
“We know from the conversations we have had that the EFL clubs will not be allowed to go bust, there are the resources there, but we need a comprehensive deal”
“More importantly for Government right now, there is a problem in football which football is perfectly capable of resolving itself whereby the Premier League and the EFL just need to get together and do this deal,” he said.
“We know from the conversations we have had that the EFL clubs will not be allowed to go bust, there are the resources there, but we need a comprehensive deal. This [Project Big Picture] is a distraction at best from that.
“What it demonstrates is that we were wise to put in our manifesto provisions for a fan-led review because it genuinely brings into question the ability of football to govern itself properly.”
A Premier League club owner has told Sky Sports News only six top-flight teams are in favour of Project Big Picture proposals, ahead of a shareholder meeting on Wednesday.
Eight Championship clubs also said they are losing between 15-40 per cent of their revenue due to the loss of matchday income while games continue to be played without fans. That figure does not include direct gate receipts.
Two Championship clubs told Sky Sports News their survival was not dependant on a bailout and redundancies were not being considered, with a number also declining to comment.
Clubs are able to defer PAYE payments to HMRC until the end of this year and stadium rent can also be put on hold until January.
But one club official warned that it was “kicking the can further down the road and each time we kick it gets bigger”.
Dowden: Football must prove it can governance itself properly
Dowden insisted that given Premier League clubs had spent more than £1 billion during the summer transfer window, a deal for the English top flight to provide support to benefit the wider football pyramid was there to be reached.
“The way that football can demonstrate it can governance itself well and properly is to get this deal over the line which is there to be had,” Dowden, who confirmed the Government would not help finance the proposed bailout, said.
“Whereby the Premier League uses its wealth to support the wider football family which is common in other countries and the EFL also comes properly to the negotiating table rather than being distracted by projects like this.”
Eighty-five per cent of League Two clubs worries about finance
Thirteen League Two clubs responded to a Sky Sports News survey and 85 per cent said they were worried about their current financial situation. Ninety-two per cent were not satisfied with the government’s efforts to get fans back into stadiums.
Earlier this month, a Sky Sports News survey of League One clubs found that 100 per cent felt the Premier League should offer a bailout and none felt the Government had done enough to get fans into stadiums.
— to www.skysports.com