An announcement this afternoon confirmed that the EFL and the Premier League have today concluded negotiations on a rescue package and distress fund to address the immediate financial challenges faced by EFL Clubs arising as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A fund of £50m, in the form of a grant and monitored grant payments, has been agreed for League One and Two clubs, with the Blues set to benefit for the first time since the pandemic crisis started from a ‘no strings attached’ and very welcome payment of £250,000.
Speaking this evening, chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “League Two clubs agreed at our last meeting that the EFL board should move forward and try to get the best deal possible for Leagues One and Two, in relation to the £50m support package.
“The mixture of loans and grants initially put forward wasn’t acceptable to League Two, and we made that clear some time ago.
“We have been aware that talks were progressing, but this agreement is new. Confirmation that it was now in place came at 11.30am this morning, along with some detail – all for the very first time.
“We now need to carefully consider what it means.”
“Firstly, £15m is coming forward as an immediate unconditional grant,” he explained. “From that we will receive £250,000.
“There will then be a further £15m which will be distributed based on ‘lost gate revenue’ within a framework to be determined by the EFL and approved by the Premier League. At this stage we don’t know how much we will receive as part of this mechanism.
“That leaves £20m which remains conditional, with payments means tested and based on ‘need’ with ‘certain restrictions’ in place.
“What the precise detail of what ‘need’ is and what exactly the ‘certain conditions’ and ‘restrictions’ may be are yet to be confirmed. Claims will need to be made by clubs and payments will be determined by a joint EFL and Premier League panel.”
“As I have said all along, the allocation of cash must be fair,” he continued. “The initial observations are that the move to ‘grant and monitored grant payments’ appears to be an improvement but, and as with all things when it comes to football deals, my experience tells me it’s the very fine detail that matters, not the headlines, especially when there has been pressure for some time for a deal and some good headlines to go with it.
“If the immediate and very obvious issues and problems with the grants to be paid against ‘lost gate revenue’ along with the conditional grants to be based on ‘need’ are addressed in the operation of the scheme, to make it fair to all clubs, then that will be crucial.
“We will carefully consider the fine detail when we get it and we will update fans, as always, on what it could mean for us.”
“As we have stated, our approach has been to self-help in every way we could since March,” he said. “We’ve worked very hard and have taken tough decisions to reduce our costs wherever we could – even if this meant that in the short-term our ability to compete on the field suffered.
“We are using cash reserves and all measures we can to stay afloat and avoid and delay financial distress, not just to get to the end of the season.
“We actively sought to get fans in first, when it was safe to do so, to minimise the losses from gate income. This has been and remains very difficult.
“The fact of the matter is that 2,000 fans at our games won’t make any significant difference to the net cash we have coming in, as we have very significant ongoing costs.
“Having worked the way we have, and having made the decisions we made, the situation doesn’t change. We can’t get through on our own and the replacement grant income remains desperately needed.
“We will have a further update once there is more clarity on the points raised above.”