Shadow Sports Minister urges Government to prevent clubs going out of business

The Government must put together a rescue package to prevent clubs going out of business amid the continued ban on spectators, the Shadow Sports Minister has said.

A plan to bring fans back into sports venues on a socially-distanced basis from October 1 has been scrapped because of fears over a second wave of coronavirus infections, with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the measures announced on Tuesday could have to stay in place for six months.

A host of sports associations and clubs issued dire warnings about the financial impact of the decision, and Alison McGovern has urged the Government to act.

Charlton Athletic v Queens Park Rangers – Sky Bet Championship – The Valley
Charlton Athletic v Queens Park Rangers – Sky Bet Championship – The Valley

“Labour warned the Government over the summer that many sports clubs were teetering on the edge due to loss of ticket sales,” she said.

“While we support the measures to control the virus and save lives, the Government need to plan to make sure no one loses a much-loved sports club just because of Covid-19.”

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, met with representatives from a wide range on Tuesday afternoon to hold further talks on the financial impact of the restrictions.

It is understood DCMS is keen to move quickly to identify areas where there is critical need, but remains of the view that the Premier League should provide support to the EFL.

The EFL says its 72 clubs stand to lose £200million without fans for the entirety of the 2020-21 season, with club chairmen saying on Tuesday they expected clubs to go under without immediate action.

Talks are continuing between the bodies over a possible bailout, but the Premier League has pointed out that the lack of fans is starting to have a “devastating” impact on the finances of its own clubs.