Sky Sports News: Ten football clubs could go bust in weeks without urgent govt bailout, MP warns

Sky Sports News: Ten football clubs could go bust in weeks without urgent govt bailout, MP warns

Article by Geraint Hughes for Sky Sports News - published 22 May 2020

Up to 10 football clubs could go into administration within weeks unless they receive an urgent and substantial government bailout, it has been claimed.

Damian Collins, the former chair of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee, said many League 1 and 2 teams in the English Football League were in a parlous state even before the coronavirus crisis began.

The MP says the pandemic is making the plight of vulnerable clubs more acute - and called on the government to provide financial support quickly.

He told Sky Sports News: "In the next few weeks, we could see five to 10 EFL League clubs going into administration.

"We saw the outcry last summer when two clubs, Bury and Bolton, were in trouble. If that happens there will be huge public demand to do something.

"Without the government stepping in, those clubs could go to the wall and there maybe others that follow."

Although Mr Collins said it would be more ideal for footballing organisations to help themselves, he warned that this is not possible.

"I don't think there is a body able to stump up the cash needed... it requires leadership from the government here," he added.

Mr Collins, along with Sunderland co-owner Charlie Methven, have drafted a six-point plan to "rescue football and protect community assets for future generations to enjoy".

They believe the EFL is not fit for purpose in its current structure - and warned that, without reforms, clubs would continue to be run so badly that they would need more cash.

Mr Collins also said taxpayers' money must not be used to buy players - and should solely be used to ensure clubs are financially sustainable.

Earlier this month, EFL chairman Rick Parry told the Commons select committee that the league would face a "black hole of £200m" by September - but added that he doubted whether any government would provide a bailout amounting to that figure.

Last month, Culture, Media & Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden announced a £16m package to help Rugby League through its financial problems.

The six-point plan to support the EFL has received backing from former FA chairman David Triesman, who said: "Damian Collins and Charlie Methven have clearly devoted considerable thought to the financial and social crises facing football.

"They have identified some very practical routes through to a more secure future and I welcome this wholeheartedly.

"It is a pity that football so seldom does the work needed itself. But it doesn't. This is therefore an especially important intervention."

Malcolm Clarke, chair of the Football Supporters' Association and supporter representative on the FA Council, added: "The necessary restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have made government support for football clubs - a vital part of our communities and culture - an urgent necessity.

"We welcome the call for that assistance to be both prompt and linked to future sustainability.

"Football now has a unique opportunity to reset and adopt new ideas, which not only secure the short-term future of clubs, but help them thrive in the seasons ahead."

Copyright 2019 Damian Collins. All rights reserved

Promoted by Russell Tillson for and on behalf of Damian Collins, both of Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association both at 4 West Cliff Gardens, Folkestone, Kent CT20 1SP

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