Premier League helps 1,090 non-league clubs make grounds Covid-secure

The Premier League has committed more than £5.5million to over 1,000 clubs at grassroots level to help them prepare for the resumption of football, but cannot put any time frame on its negotiations over an EFL bailout.

A total of 1,090 clubs in the National League system, the women’s football pyramid and the Welsh Premier League have benefited from grants paid from the Matchday Support Fund, enabling grounds to be made Covid-secure for the new campaign.

For some of these clubs, this will assist them in welcoming back spectators.

David Bottomley File Photo
David Bottomley File Photo

A support package for the three divisions below the Premier League remains the subject of ongoing dialogue.

The Premier League is understood to be seeking assurances over how the money will be spent but has been given encouragement by the salary caps in League One and Two as a sign of clubs exercising greater cost controls.

Rochdale chief executive David Bottomley said it was “almost an insult” that the Premier League should seek to tell clubs like his how to spend the money.

But the Premier League’s concerns are reportedly more focused at Championship level – where Deloitte found that clubs had spent 107 per cent of their revenue on wages in 2018-19.

It was reported on Friday that the Premier League clubs wanted to delay the release of funds until the closure of the EFL transfer window on October 16, but it is understood there is no time frame for when or even if a package will be agreed and distributed.

⏯️ #Football clubs deserve to know where they stand. I've just asked @DCMS Sports Minister @HuddlestonNigel if there will be no government support for #FootballLeague clubs – he can't comment as plans being developed ⚽

— Damian Collins (@DamianCollins) September 30, 2020

A letter to Culture Secretary on Monday warned clubs were preparing to wind up operations unless emergency funding was secured, following the Government’s decision last week to halt plans for spectators to return to grounds from October 1.

The letter, whose signatories included former Football Association chairmen Greg Dyke and Lord Triesman, pointed out that the Government should step in to assist the EFL, and that the Premier League should not be solely responsible for its survival.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston remains of the view that support for the EFL should come from the Premier League, saying on Wednesday: “It is perfectly fair and reasonable that those with the broadest shoulders carry the biggest burden.”