Rescue package from Premier League still on table despite EFL rejection

There have also been calls for independent regulation in English football.

Clubs are unable to welcome fans into their ground (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Clubs are unable to welcome fans into their ground (Bradley Collyer/PA)

EFL clubs have rejected the Premier League’s proposed £50million rescue package for League One and League Two, but the PA news agency understands the offer is still on the table.

A loans and grants package to clubs in the bottom two divisions of the EFL struggling without matchday income due to coronavirus was put forward at a Premier League shareholders’ meeting after Project Big Picture was dismissed.

The bailout, on top of £27.2m already advanced in solidarity payments, was labelled insufficient by the EFL, which also insisted clubs in the Championship should not be omitted when it comes to a deal being struck.

The Premier League’s offer still stands and it is also understood the top-flight is ready to engage with any EFL club in the Championship, League One or League Two that is under immediate threat as a result of COVID-19.

An EFL statement read: “The need for continued unity across the membership base was fundamental to discussions across all three divisions, and therefore there was a strong consensus that any rescue package must meet the requirements of all 72 clubs before it can be considered in full.

“The League has been very clear in its discussions of the financial requirements needed to address lost gate receipts in 2019/20 and 2020/21, and while EFL clubs are appreciative that a formal proposal has now been put forward, the conditional offer of £50million falls some way short of this.

“The EFL is keen to continue discussions with the Premier League to reach an agreeable solution that will address the short-term financial needs of all of our clubs and allow us the ability to consider the longer-term economic issues in parallel that specifically look to achieve a more sustainable EFL for the future.”

The impasse between the Premier League and EFL comes on a day when a group including former Football Association chairman David Bernstein and ex-England defender Gary Neville called for independent regulation in English football.

Gary Neville is among a group to call for independent regulation in football (Mike Egerton/PA)
Gary Neville is among a group to call for independent regulation in football (Mike Egerton/PA)

A 22-page manifesto for change titled ‘Saving the Beautiful Game’ has also been put forward by former FA executive director David Davies, retired Olympian Denise Lewis, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, Conservative MP Helen Grant, ex-Aston Villa director Lord Mervyn King and lawyer Greg Scott.

The document lays bare what it says are financial imbalances and governance issues in football.

“English football is in crisis and the current pandemic has brought this to a head,” the manifesto says.

“Our analysis is not intended to be seen as criticism of the EPL (Premier League). At home and abroad, it is correctly perceived as a huge national asset for our country giving pleasure to billions.

“But the imbalance between the EPL on the one hand and the rest of English football on the other is now embarrassingly too great. A woefully overstretched EFL and a clearly underfunded FA are simply unable to meet their commitments to their constituencies and the wider game.

“Multimillion-pound television deals for some are lauded at the same time as facilities, including pitches for the grassroots, wither away. This cannot be desirable.

“We believe real structural reform, however it is achieved, would still enable the EPL to continue much as it does currently and with its independence intact. But the benefits to the rest of the game would be enormous.

“So, we propose legislation in Parliament that sets up a new regulatory body for football with the challenge of radically reforming the way our national game is governed.”

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