Shropshire Star

Premier League's £125m Covid-19 relief package welcome news for Shrewsbury Town and AFC Telford United

Shrewsbury Town and AFC Telford United have been boosted by the Premier League’s unanimous decision to advance £125million funds to EFL and National League clubs.

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The funds, consisting of solidarity payments, parachute payments and academy grants, are to be distributed to clubs in the Championship, Leagues One and Two and National Leagues as a short-term relief to deal with failing cash flow.

A statement from the Premier League also confirmed top-flight football will not return at the beginning of May and only when safe and well to do so amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The EFL followed suit by confirming action will be postponed until it is safe to return.

Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to ‘consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30 per cent’.

Shrewsbury Town are understood to have welcomed the move from the governing bodies and will await to see how the funds are divided up between the leagues and clubs.

For National North AFC Telford, who last week launched a Covid-19 survival fund which has raised £1,100, any funds will be helpful given the ‘financial challenges’ that chairman Andy Pryce warned lay ahead.

It is believed such monies are usually split 80 per cent to the Championship, 12 per cent to League One and eight per cent to League Two – but this will be amended due to vital funds heading to National League clubs.

Shrewsbury are still paying staff in full and the club’s chief executive does not see the PFA agreeing to wage cuts across the board that would affect League One, the Shropshire Star has learned.

Brian Caldwell has revealed that no playing, management or other staff have taken cuts to their salaries and are currently being paid 100 per cent with the nation on lockdown due to coronavirus.

Montgomery Waters Meadow CEO Caldwell told the Star the only way the League One club would agree with wage deferrals is if the bodies reached an agreement for blanket amendments – a conclusion the Scottish chief does not foresee.

Caldwell said: “At present no staff, players or otherwise are taking wage cuts, everyone is on full 100 per cent pay.

“The EFL together with the PL are in talks just now with PFA and the only way we would do wage deferrals (as I can’t personally see PFA agreeing to wage cuts) would be if that was agreed with PFA and all football bodies in which case all football clubs would do as advised to following agreement with PFA.”

Caldwell has previously explained how, due to their prudent financial strategy – which was backed again by the club’s latest set of accounts released at the beginning of the week – Shrewsbury have reserves in the bank should they be needed to come through the crisis.

The accounts, which cover the 2018/19 campaign, revealed that debt-free Shrewsbury have £2.7million in the coffers.

The club are keen to finish the League One campaign, where Sam Ricketts’ side currently sit 16th with 10 games remaining, but only when safe to do and spoke against fixtures played behind closed doors.