COVID-19: Premier League and EFL agree deal over £250m bailout for lower league clubs

The Premier League and English Football League have reached an agreement over a £250m bailout package for EFL clubs facing financial challenges in the pandemic.

There will be £50m of funding for clubs in League One and Two.

Teams in those two tiers will receive a minimum of £375,000 and £250,000 respectively, it is understood.

They will then get a share of a further £15m pot distributed via a calculation of lost gate revenue approved by the EFL and the Premier League.

There will also be a £200m interest-free loan facility taken out by the EFL for Championship teams.

The rescue package was unanimously agreed by Premier League clubs during a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday.

It comes after months of tricky negotiations between the two sides over the deal which is aimed at getting smaller clubs through the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “The Premier League is a huge a supporter of the football pyramid and is well aware of the important role clubs play in their communities. Our commitment is that no EFL club need go out of business due to COVID-19.

“All football clubs continue to suffer significant financial losses as a result of the pandemic, but Premier League shareholders today unanimously agreed to provide additional funding and support for EFL clubs in real financial distress.”

EFL chairman Rick Parry said: “Our over-arching aim throughout this process has been to ensure that all EFL clubs survive the financial impact of the pandemic.

“I am pleased that we have now reached a resolution on behalf of our clubs and as we have maintained throughout this will provide much-needed support and clarity following months of uncertainty.”

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The news was welcomed by Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

He said he was “glad that football has come together”, with the bailout following a £300m ‘Winter Survival Package’ issued by the government last month to protect the immediate future of spectator sports in England.

He added: “I warmly welcome this deal between the Premier League and the EFL which provides up to £250m support to help clubs through COVID.

“I’m glad that football has come together to agree this substantial package. Fans are starting to return and we look forward to building on this as soon as it’s safe.

“With a £250m support package for men’s elite football and £300m government funding for women’s football, the National League and other major spectator sports we have fuel in the tank to get clubs and sports through this.”

Analysis: Huge relief to clubs and fans after protracted battle

By Martha Kelner, sports correspondent

Finally, after months of deadlock and wrangling behind the scenes, a deal has been agreed which could secure the future of clubs in the football league experiencing an unprecedented financial crisis.

No money was given by government to the men’s professional football in the recent £300m bailout for sport, so clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two were relying on this agreement.

It will be a huge relief to those clubs and their fans but it has been a protracted battle behind the scenes to reach this stage.

At the start of negotiations, some Premier League clubs privately did not accept that it was their responsibility to prop up the football pyramid, in the same way that Amazon was not expected to bail out independent retailers.

They also pointed out that top-flight clubs are losing a combined £100m a month with fans not allowed to return.

But that was at odds with the opinion held by government who insisted that the Premier League, with its multi-billion TV money, was eminently capable of financially supporting the football ecosystem through this tumult and should do so.

At a parliamentary hearing last month, the Premier League and EFL was effectively put on watch by the government to reach a resolution and only this week a parliamentary committee was told this week that up to 10 EFL clubs were currently struggling to pay wages.

A point had been reached that a deal simply had to be done and coming just a day after fans were allowed to return to stadiums in some areas, in limited numbers, it is another positive step for football.

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