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EFL forms relief fund for Covid-19-hit clubs

Patrick Bamford of Leeds United scores during the Championship match versus Huddersfield Town (by John Early/Getty Images)

The English Football League (EFL), governing body of the three divisions below the Premier League, has said it will provide a £50m (€53.3m/$57.5m) short-term relief package to clubs in financial distress due to Covid-19, adding that its “primary objective” is to successfully complete the 2019-20 season.

The EFL Board met yesterday (Wednesday) after it, the Premier League, Football Association (FA) and Women’s Super League (WSL) last week announced that matches would not be played in the country until April 3 at the earliest due to the outbreak.

With clubs outside the Premier League particularly vulnerable to a lack of income from sources such as matchday revenue, the EFL said the fund will consist of the remaining Basic Award payments from broadcast and sponsorship revenue being advanced to clubs immediately, with the remainder made up through an interest-free loan facility available to clubs, calculated in line with the EFL’s Article of Associations.

The EFL said: “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 period of uncertainty.”

The BBC said Championship clubs will receive their remaining £800,000 award payment from the Premier League today. In addition, they will be able to apply for a £584,000 interest-free loan.

For clubs in League One the figures are £250,000 and £183,000, with this reducing to £164,000 and £120,000 for League Two teams. A further £1m from EFL Futures, a venture which rewards clubs for giving opportunities to home-grown young players, will be distributed immediately on a pro-rata basis.

The 47 clubs that make up League One and League Two are said to have told the EFL on Tuesday that Covid-19 could result in an estimated combined loss of £50m if the current season cannot be restarted. The Guardian reported that the Championship’s 24 clubs are unanimously behind concluding the season, with three lucrative promotion spots to the Premier League at stake. Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion currently occupy the two automatic promotion places.

The EFL added: “The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019-20 season, subject to the over-riding priority around health and well-being. 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.”