The Premier League and English Football League (EFL) have agreed a £250m rescue package to help ease the financial challenge faced by EFL clubs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The EFL will be assisted in getting a £200m loan for Championship clubs.
A £50m grant has been agreed for League One and Two clubs.
EFL chairman Rick Parry said it was a “welcome, tangible commitment to the professional game at a time when it has needed it most”.
How will it work?
The Premier League will pay up to £15m to help the EFL to secure a £200m loan which it will then lend to Championship clubs interest free.
Loans are capped at £8.33m per club and must be repaid by June 2024.
The £50m rescue package for Leagues One and Two is split into two parts – £30m will be paid to the 48 clubs as a grant based on missed gate receipts from the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
- League One clubs will receive a minimum payment of £375,000
- League Two clubs will receive a minimum payment of £250,000
- The remaining £15m will be distributed using a lost gate revenue share calculation
A further £20m monitored grant will be provided and clubs can apply based on need. A joint Premier League and EFL panel will determine club eligibility.
Clubs receiving a monitored grant will be subject to restrictions with respect to transfer spend and player wages.
“Our over-arching aim throughout this process has been to ensure that all EFL clubs survive the financial impact of the pandemic,” said Parry.
“I am pleased that we have now reached a resolution on behalf of our clubs and, as we have maintained throughout, this will provide much-needed support and clarity following months of uncertainty.”
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “The Premier League is a huge supporter of the football pyramid and is well aware of the important role clubs play in their communities. Our commitment is that no EFL club need go out of business due to Covid-19.
“All football clubs continue to suffer significant financial losses as a result of the pandemic, but Premier League shareholders unanimously agreed to provide additional funding and support for EFL clubs in real financial distress.
“We are very pleased to have reached this agreement and we stand together with the EFL in our commitment to protect all clubs in these unprecedented times.”
How did we get here?
The Premier League previously said a financial package for League One and Two clubs was intended to make sure they “will not go out of business as a result of the financial impact of Covid-19 and be able to complete the 2020-21 season”.
Since March, football has been played behind closed doors until restrictions were lifted in some areas of England this week, meaning clubs have missed out on vital matchday revenue.
In October, EFL clubs rejected the Premier League’s proposed £50m rescue package for League One and Two clubs, saying it “falls some way short” of the required amount.
Top-flight clubs made the offer after deciding not to pursue Project Big Picture.
But in November, clubs “agreed in principle” for those in League One and Two to receive the package from the Premier League.
The agreement came two days after after a parliamentary committee heard that 10 EFL clubs were struggling to pay wages.
The EFL board approved the deal on Thursday before Premier League shareholders then gave their final approval to the agreement.
“I warmly welcome this deal between the Premier League and the EFL which provides up to £250m support to help clubs through Covid,” said culture secretary Oliver Dowden.
“I’m glad that football has come together to agree this substantial package. Fans are starting to return and we look forward to building on this as soon as it’s safe.
“With a £250m support package for men’s elite football and £300m government funding for women’s football, the National League and other major spectator sports we have fuel in the tank to get clubs and sports through this.”
Julian Knight MP, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said he welcomed the rescue package but criticised the delay in agreeing the deal, adding: “This fiasco is evidence of a lack of accountability within football’s governance structure.”
BBC sports editor Dan Roan
Amid an unprecedented financial crisis after nine months without gate receipts, this will come as a major relief to many cash-strapped clubs in Leagues One and Two, and to the government, which had been applying pressure on the Premier League to do more to support the rest of the game ever since it was allowed to resume last season.
With no money given to professional men’s football in the government’s recent £300m bailout, and several clubs facing ruin, the fear was that the league structure faced collapse if a deal was not agreed, so after the return of fans for the first time in nine months this week, this news represents another positive step.
Some will note that given the billions of pounds the top-flight clubs generate from TV deals, it can easily afford a contribution of £65m, and could have done more to help their counterparts on whom they often rely for talent. Others will question how Championship clubs will be able to pay back the millions they are now able to borrow.
But at a time when Premier League clubs are also losing significant amounts as a result of Covid, persuading them to give away vast sums was never going to be simple. Many in the game have questioned why football clubs should be expected to help poorer businesses in a way not seen in other industries.
Others, however, will welcome a hugely significant agreement after months of unedifying deadlock between leagues and politicians that has done little for the reputation of the sport.