FA Chairman: Clubs and Leagues could be lost due to coronavirus
FA chairman Greg Clarke believes the future of clubs and leagues could be in danger of being lost due to the financial pain of the coronavirus.
Clarke insists that the main aim for the FA is to complete the season to ensure the natural conclusion of the season to resolve promotion, relegation and title winners on merit, but admitted that might not be possible.
“Football faces economic challenges beyond the wildest imagination of those who run it. The pandemic will be followed by its economic consequences and all business sectors will suffer.” Clarke said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“We face the danger of losing clubs and leagues as finances collapse. Many communities could lose the clubs at their heart with little chance of resurrection.
“In the face of this unprecedented adversity, all the stakeholders within the game from players, fans, clubs, owners and administrators need to step up and share the pain to keep the game alive.
“Everyone should understand that the Premier League clubs are not immune from the impact of this and whilst they are impacted to different degrees depending on their cost base, the potential overall financial impact is huge.
“We must have a plan to ensure that English football is not decimated should this season be lost and next season blighted. We hope we do not need this plan as we are all determined to finish the professional football season, however we would be fools not to develop such a contingency plan. Those that lost their clubs because English football did not rise to the challenge would rightly judge us harshly.
“Time is pressing as football burns through its cash reserves with no sign yet of a resumption of the game. Pointing fingers serves no purpose.
“It is time for the stakeholders to agree common cause to save our game. Contribute. Football is a team game and now is the time for teamwork.
“The FA looks forward to working with all football stakeholders to safeguard the future of our game.”
Earlier today, Sunderland have announced they are the latest club to have announced that they have put their entire first-team squad along with academy players and coaching staff on furlough leave due to the coronavirus.
In its announcement today, the club also said that it would ensure that ‘all employees are paid in full’, with the government covering the cost of 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month, and the club pledging to top of the rest of any outstanding wages.
Other League One clubs have taken similar action to Sunderland, with Portsmouth, Coventry City and Doncaster Rovers already furloughing their entire staff with other clubs understood taking similar steps.