Rick Parry has warned the EFL is facing a £200m black hole – and League One and Two clubs could be forced into hibernation without a cash bail out.
EFL chairman Parry spoke out after the Government put plans for supporters to return to stadiums on hold with a growing belief they will not be allowed back for the entire 2020/21 season.
Parry said: “EFL Clubs lost £50m last season as a result of playing matches behind closed doors or curtailing the season and stand to lose a further £200m in 2020/21 should we be required to play the whole season without supporters in grounds.
“I am encouraged that the Government has recognised the need for urgent financial assistance for sport and discussions will continue with DCMS and the Premier League.”
It would be devastating for the bottom two divisions of the EFL and Parry is now going public with his pleas for the Premier League to answer their SOS and deliver a financial rescue package.
The Premier League is discussing offering an emergency loan to the EFL with a low interest rate after the Government made it clear that it will be down to football to step in.
Mirror Sport understands there would be a real threat of clubs in League One and Two having to go into “hibernation” and write off the entire campaign unless the Premier League plugs the gap.
They are already in dire financial straits after last season’s lockdown but they will not be able to pay the bills to run the club, pay the players and overheads without any gate receipts coming in.
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One executive at an EFL club told Mirror Sport: “Unless the Premier League steps in then League One and Two could have to go into hibernation as it’s just not viable to run a club without fans and the gate receipts.”
Premier League bosses are talking with the clubs but, as Mirror Sport revealed yesterday, the majority are on board but there are some doubters who insist they have got their own problems.
Prem chiefs advanced £125m in funding during lockdown and now are under Government pressure to give out nearly twice as much which would come in the form of a loan repaid at a low interest rate.
Discussions are understood to be ongoing at Premier League level and there is a strong belief it will happen – although the EFL are concerned as it has been a topic for discussion for weeks and has yet to be resolved.
The Premier League wants any loan to be offset by not having to pay parachute payments to relegated clubs like Fulham who were went straight back up and there are still sticking points to overcome.
The long period clubs face without fans has now upped the pressure with EFL clubs also angry and frustrated with the Professional Footballers’ Association for not stepping in as wages are the biggest overhead and concern which could leave players not being paid.
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally accused the PFA of “letting football down” and “acting disgracefully” by not stepping in during the crisis.
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