With top level football suspended until at least April 30th, and the risk of the season being deemed ‘null and void’ altogether, what impact could this have on clubs relying on this season, to stay out financial trouble?
In a statement from the EFL, plans are being put in place to support clubs who could see themselves in financial trouble should the season be cancelled:
“Measures are to be put in place to immediately assist with cash flow via a £50million short-term relief package. The cash injection is included as part of a series of measures, that includes potential Government support to help Clubs and their associated businesses through this time of uncertainty.”
Over the lockdown period, this money will be used to help clubs in the EFL who really need it, helping to support clubs who are struggling to finances such as wages and sponsorship deals. However, there has been no confirmation as to what will happen in terms of financial support should the season be deemed ‘null and void’, as if it never happened.
Cancelling the season after 8 months of football seems like drastic option. Teams are where they are in their table’s because they deserve to be there, and to finish the season without conclusion and reward surely has to be the last resort.
In the Championship for example, promotion to the Premier League is set to generate an additional £170 million over three seasons for the three clubs promoted through the automatic positions and the play offs. Making this one of the biggest and most important achievements in English football.
With 9 games left of the season, Leeds and West Brom currently lead the way in the hunt for the prize back to the big time. Covid-19 could have other ideas for them however. If the season was deemed ‘null and void’ the pair would therefore miss out on promotion and that huge cash prize, which has the potential to boost a club to new levels not only financially but competitively.
Lower down the leagues especially, two thirds of the clubs in the EFL are said to be losing money each year as it is, and therefore are reliant on contributions from owners regularly to keep on top of things. The concern for these clubs now is the owners might be reluctant to pay, with the uncertainty the rest of this season will even go ahead.
Many of the owners of EFL clubs, particularly in League Two are usually local businessmen who are running their own companies and will be suffering financial distress from the result of the virus themselves. Looking back at Bury’s situation last year, then you can easily see it being repeated from clubs that rely on business owner handouts.