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FA to make redundancies amid fears of £300m loss

Wembley Stadium hosts the League Two Play Off Final between Exeter City and Northampton Town on June 29 (by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

The English Football Association (FA) has said 82 of its employees stand to lose their jobs amid cost-cutting measures to tackle potential losses of around £300m (€327.4m/$369.1m) due to Covid-19.

The FA owns Wembley Stadium, and the events calendar for English football’s national stadium has been severely impacted by the global pandemic. The FA said it now has a greater understanding of the “long-term and irreversible effect” of Covid-19 on its finances, adding that it expects many of its future revenue streams to be impacted for a “considerable time”.

Wembley was due to be the main venue for this summer’s Uefa Euro 2020, with the final, semi-finals, round of 16 and group stage games taking place in London. European football’s governing body confirmed this month that all 12 host cities had been secured for the rescheduled tournament, which will now be held from June 11 to July 11 next year.

Wembley has also seen its summer concerts schedule decimated, while the NFL decided last month to schedule all its 2020 season games in the United States, meaning no regular season games will be played at Wembley as originally intended.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “The financial challenge we face is a significant one. We have lost all of the revenue from events at Wembley Stadium since March and all other future bookings, such as the music concerts in August and the NFL games in October.

“Our hospitality revenue from Wembley Stadium, which usually delivers around £35m per year, has completely fallen away and will probably take years to recover. In addition, many of our sponsors and broadcasters have been hugely impacted by the pandemic and, in turn, we are not able to deliver the content we are committed to.

“This results in pressure on us financially as in some cases we need to pay compensation, for example where events are cancelled.”

The FA proposes to make 124 positions redundant. However, because recruitment was suspended the day the FA left its offices amid the Covid-19 lockdown in March, the governing body said it has been able to take 42 vacant positions out of the structure, which means it is proposing to remove 82 roles from the organisation.

Bullingham added: “We do not think that it would be right to wait and see if the next few months bring greater certainty. The reality we are faced with is that no one knows the future and I believe that the money we have already lost, combined with the uncertainty of the coming months, means that we need to consider these proposals to avoid making matters worse in time.

“Going through this process now, as difficult as it is for all of us, means that in our worst-case scenarios we should still be able to overcome them and not need to repeat this exercise next year. The next few weeks will be very tough for everyone at the FA and our aim is to ensure that we emerge in the strongest possible state and be ready for better times in the future.”