By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
A group of prominent persons, including former English Football Association chairmen, Greg Dyke and Lord Triesman, has written a joint letter to the Government requesting a coronavirus rescue package, warning that “the collapse of the national league structure that we have known for over a 100 years” is now at risk.
They state in the letter that many English Football League (EFL) and National League Clubs are now preparing to “cease playing ….. and put their business into administration.”
The group adds:
“We would ask that the Government now make clear what financial support it’s prepared to give before it is too late.
In order for clubs to sustain themselves over the winter and keep playing, they would need to be compensated for the loss of match ticket sales.”
The Government has also been told by the group that:
“Without any plans being made to rescue football clubs, many in the EFL and others in the National League as well, are now actively preparing to make all but essential staff redundant, cease playing, close down their youth academies and community foundations…..”
The group notes that the Government has already provided a £1.5 billion rescue package to the Arts and Cultural Organisations in the UK.
A Government suggestion that the wealthy English Premier League steps in to help financially, not surprisingly, has fallen on deaf ears, it being argued that the financial plight of the lower English League clubs is the result of Government policy and not of their own making.
There is not only a financial dimension to this dire situation, but also a cultural and social one, which, in these present challenging times, is badly needed to boost the national morale!