Can Lower League Football Clubs Survive The Second Wave Measures?

The Football Association (FA) has welcomed the Government’s commitment to providing financial support to lower league clubs but warned of the “huge” impact that the new coronavirus restrictions are set to have.

A plan to bring fans back into stadiums on a socially-distanced basis from October 1 has been scrapped because of fears over a second wave of coronavirus infections, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the measures announced on Tuesday could stay in place for six months.

Shadow Sports Minister Alison McGovern has prompted the Government to act, and her call has been echoed by the FA, which said assistance is imperative if many clubs are to survive the current lockdown.

An FA statement stated: “We understand the Government’s decision, as the health of the UK is the priority. However, it is imperative to recognise the impact on football as we know it will be huge.

“Football clubs up and down the country are struggling, and many will have been looking forward to crowds coming back to provide the much-needed income during these difficult times. Many clubs, at all levels of the game, are battling to survive.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to providing financial support to these clubs and will continue to work together on a return of crowds as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We welcome the continuation of the grassroots game, and the elite game played behind closed doors, to help support the physical and mental wellbeing of the millions of players across the country, with outdoor exercise more important now than we’ve ever seen.”

McGovern urged the Government to seek to make sure as many sports clubs as possible are prevented from going out of business, a call made more pertinent by the demise of Macclesfield in September.

“Labour warned the Government in the summer that many sports clubs were teetering on edge due to loss of ticket sales. While we support the measures to help control the virus and to save lives, the Government needs to plan to make sure no one loses a much-loved sports club just because of Covid-19.”

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture and Sport, Oliver Dowden, met with representatives from a wide range of sports on Tuesday afternoon to hold further talks on the financial impact of the restrictions.

It is understood DCMS is keen to move quickly to identify areas where there is a critical need but remains of the view that the Premier League should provide some support to the EFL.

The EFL says its 72 clubs stand to lose £200million without fans for the entirety of the 2020-21 season, with club chairmen saying on Tuesday they expected clubs to go under without immediate action.

There have been rumours of the UK’s leading bookmakers giving a certain percentage of bets placed on EFL matches to the respective clubs to help support lower league teams. View all the participating bookmakers at AceBettingSites to see who to use to support the EFL.

Talks are continuing between the bodies over a potential bailout. Still, the Premier League has pointed out that the lack of fans is starting to have a “devastating” impact on the finances of its own clubs.