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National League structure faces collapse

A number of English Football League (EFL) and National League clubs are preparing to make all non-essential staff redundant, with some on the verge of administration following the delay to return spectators.

Major figures have written a joint letter impelling ministers to compensate clubs with a coronavirus rescue package. This follows the latest government announcement on restrictions to live sporting events.

Football Association chairmen Greg Dyke and Lord Triesman and Sunderland shareholder Charlie Methven are among the signatories of the letter warning the Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden that a number of clubs will be lost without government support.

“Without plans being made to rescue football clubs, many in the EFL and others in the National League are preparing to make all but essential staff redundant, cease playing, close down their academies and community foundations and put their businesses into administration,” the group of prominent figures wrote.

This could lead not only to the failure of many historic community clubs, but the collapse of the national league structure that we have known for over 100 years."

The letter also made reference to the £1.5 billion rescue package given to the arts and culture sector. "We believe that football, like other well-loved professional sports in this country, is also a cultural activity," the group added.

The EFL predict that its 72 clubs will lose £200 million this season without gate receipts, after already losing £50 million last term.

Premier League clubs are said to be hugely frustrated after Dowden said he was “hopeful” the top flight would help lower league clubs, while also imposing restrictions affecting the Premier League.

A meeting of Premier League clubs is scheduled on Tuesday (28th September) to decide how the season would end if it cannot be completed because of the coronavirus pandemic, however discussing a lower league bailout for lower league clubs will not be on the agenda.

Author: Charlie Farmer