The English Football League (EFL) has agreed a £117.5m (€137.7m/$161.7m) funding package with MetLife Investment Management to support Championship clubs whose revenues continue to be hit as matches are played without fans.
MetLife Investment Management is the institutional asset management business of MetLife Inc. and the EFL said the funding package will support clubs in meeting PAYE liabilities.
The EFL noted that Championship clubs have now played the equivalent of a full season without spectators, with the losses in gate receipts during this time estimated to be around £150m. The funding commitment will provide immediate support to Championship clubs.
The funding announcement comes after up to £50m of financial aid was made available for League One and League Two clubs by the top-tier Premier League back in December. The Premier League has also provided a payment commitment of up to £15m in support of the EFL securing this loan facility.
The EFL agreed the transaction with MetLife Investment Management following a competitive bidding process in which the body received “solicited and unsolicited financing proposals” from a range of potential private financing providers and UK banks. Loan options were also discussed with the UK government but the EFL said these could not be progressed due to restrictions being imposed.
It was reported in January that the EFL was in negotiations over a loan of around £75m from the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). The Financial Times has now reported that the EFL turned to MetLife after these talks collapsed.
The size of the loan facility being provided by MetLife Investment Management matches the total amount requested by Championship clubs.
EFL chair Rick Parry said: “This past month has marked an unwelcome anniversary for football with supporters now being unable to attend matches for a 12-month period, resulting in multiple negative consequences. This is therefore a much welcome, timely package of support for Championship clubs, whose operations have continued to incur significant costs without generating anywhere near normal levels of revenue.
“I’d like to thank MetLife Investment Management for the positive, proactive approach they adopted throughout our negotiations and for meeting our requirements in what are a unique set of circumstances. The support will be pivotal to clubs being able to re-evaluate their financial position and help them start to plot their way out of the pandemic and plan with greater certainty for 2021-22 when we are hoping for the return of fans in large numbers.”
Steven J. Goulart, president of MetLife Investment Management and chief investment officer at MetLife Inc., added: “We know that a healthy and vibrant football environment with strong and resilient clubs is important for the UK.
“We’re pleased to work with the EFL so that they can support their Championship clubs with additional funding in a time of need, further building a strong and sustainable football landscape and ultimately supporting the communities of which they are a part.”