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Government asks Premier League clubs to support EFL amid potential £250m deficit

The Government has reportedly asked Premier League clubs to support the EFL amid financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Talks are continuing over a return to Premier League action behind-closed-doors, with further discussions having been held this week and proposals made for a safe resumption of the currently suspended season.

Authorities have provisionally given the green light for professional sport to return next month but several obstacles remain in the way of a Premier League restart, including concerns among players over a safe return to training.

While Premier League clubs are facing the prospect of having to pay back up to £350 million to broadcasters, the Guardian report that the government’s Department for Culture Media and Sport have asked ‘that a tranche of any remaining TV money received should in part be shared with the rest of the football pyramid’ in a bid to help cover the losses in matchday revenue for EFL clubs.

The Athletic report EFL clubs are facing a £250m deficit due to lack of matchday income, with Championship sides averaging around £7m each and League One and Two sides £2m and around £1.5m respectively.

That figure is eased slightly by a pay-cut of 10% across the leagues as well as the use of the government furlough scheme, though still leaves a significant ‘black hole’ in finances that looks unlikely to be filled until spectators can safely return to stadiums – which may not be until a vaccine is found.

Meanwhile, broadcasters have also been urged to show games on free-to-air outlets such as YouTube, as part of the plans laid out by culture secretary Oliver Dowden to resume football and raise morale amongst the country at a time of national crisis.

“The government is opening the door for competitive football to return safely in June,” Dowden said during a meeting on Thursday.

“This should include widening access for fans to view live coverage and ensure finances from the game’s resumption supports the wider football family.”

“It is now up to the football authorities to agree and finalise the detail of their plans, and there is combined goodwill to achieve this for their fans, the football community and the nation as a whole. The government and our medical experts will continue to offer guidance and support to the game ahead of any final decision which would put these plans into action.”

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