EFL clubs reject Premier League bailout proposal

The English Football League’s (EFL) member clubs have rejected a financial support offer put forward by the Premier League, stating that any “rescue package” must meet the requirements of all 72 teams.

EFL clubs yesterday (Thursday) met by division to discuss the conditional offer put forward on Wednesday by the Premier League in respect to the financial support required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This offer was disclosed as Premier League clubs unanimously agreed that the ‘Project Big Picture’ reform plan would not be endorsed or pursued by the league or the English Football Association (FA), with alternative plans for the structure of the game set to be explored.

Wednesday’s meeting saw Premier League clubs agree to a rescue package designed to secure the future of League One and League Two clubs, whose revenues have been hardest hit by COVID-19. The Premier League said its offer consisted of grants and interest-free loans totalling a further £50m (€55.2m/$64.7m) on top of the £27.2m solidarity payments already advanced to League One and League Two this year, making a total of £77.2m.

The Premier League had said further discussions would be held with the EFL regarding the financial needs of Championship clubs. It is reported that the exclusion of the Championship from the package was the key sticking point for the EFL clubs.

The EFL said in a statement: “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 £50m 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.”

In other news, Championship club Norwich City has announced it has received permission from the EFL to host a live screening event at its Carrow Road stadium of the away fixture at Rotherham United on Saturday.

Outside of a fan attendance pilot event for the match against Preston North End on September 19, it will be the first time Norwich has welcomed fans back to Carrow Road since February. The event will be held in the stadium’s Gunn Club and Top of the Terrace lounges, with tickets priced at £10 per person.

Norwich said that owing to the late confirmation by the EFL of the event, it has been unable to offer a priority window on purchasing tickets but will do so for any future live screening events. To comply with social distancing, there will be limited tickets available for the event and all fans will be asked to adhere to a supporter code of conduct.

Norwich’s venture comes after Premier League club Arsenal last week commenced offering hospitality screening packages at Emirates Stadium. This will start for the game at Manchester City tomorrow.