Coronavirus: League pledge £50million to clubs, including Shrewsbury Town
The EFL have announced a £50million short-term relief package to assist clubs during the coronavirus crisis.
Shrewsbury Town will be among the 72 EFL members who will benefit from the early release of the remaining payments due to them from the league, as well as access to more cash through interest-free loans.
Town chief executive Brian Caldwell said last week the club could lose up to £250,000 as a result of games being postponed in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak – though also pointed out a healthy bank balance remains at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
Domestic professional football was brought to a halt on Friday in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, with the sport pencilled in for a return in early April.
Few around the game expect the leagues to resume at that point and the EFL has moved to help clubs struggling with the ramifications of that suspension.
Finance was key among the topics discussed at yesterday’s EFL Board, when a plan to help ease the financial burden was agreed.
In a statement, the competition said: “As part of the league’s continued contingency planning, the board heard the comments and observations from EFL clubs, before discussing a number of issues including the current financial position and implications, insurance, regulatory matters and broadcasting arrangements.
“Discussions centred on financial relief for clubs in the short term and while there is no one single solution, measures are to be put in place to immediately assist with cash flow via a £50m short-term relief package.”
Such news will be a welcome shot in the arm to teams, with League One and League Two clubs facing a reported £50m black hole. The EFL board continues to review the threat and impact of the pandemic through a dedicated taskforce, but underlined that finishing the season is key.
“The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019-20 season, subject to the overriding priority around health and well-being,” the statement added.
“Plans continue to be developed on the agreed principle that it is in the best interests of the EFL and clubs to complete the current season at the appropriate time.
“The EFL is continuing regular dialogue with the government and relevant health authorities and, as and when more information is known regarding the scale and extent of the coronavirus outbreak in this country, a decision will be taken on the resumption of the league’s fixtures.
“Conversations will continue with the EFL’s counterparts at the FA, the Premier League, the PFA and the LMA to ensure football achieves a joined-up and collaborative approach.”
Speaking last week, Caldwell revealed how Town could lose out on as much as £250,000 during this crisis.
“Financially it will be a hit for us, we did have two home games in the next two weeks and that is a concern,” he said. “The one benefit we do have as a football club is that we do have a healthy bank balance and we can sustain the loss of income, but I do worry about other clubs and the state they will be in.
“If there’s any help coming from the EFL, financially, we’ll have to wait and see.
“We are also seeing a hit on our conferencing and events side of things. Things are being cancelled by participants because of the coronavirus – we are taking a hit on both sides.
“When you take everything into account we’re probably talking around £40,000 to £50,000 a game, which is not a small amount of money.
“Hopefully we will get the games played. Whether they’re played on a Tuesday night, which does have an impact on crowds as well, we’ll have to wait and see.
“At the moment we don’t know what we’ll do but when you look at potentially losing a total of £200,000 or £250,000 in cash flow, that’s quite scary.”
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