The English Football League has affirmed its intention to finish the 2019/20 domestic league season as its “primary objective.” It also announced the immediate introduction of a $58 million relief package intended for clubs struggling financially during the coronavirus shutdown.
After gathering on Wednesday to discuss the immediate future of football in England given the COVID-19 coronavirus shutdown and uncertain future regarding the pandemic, the EFL board released a statement with key points garnered from the meeting.
“The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season, subject to the over-riding priority around health and well-being,” the statement said.
“Plans continue to be developed on the agreed principle that it is in the best interests of the EFL and Clubs to complete the current season at the appropriate time. The EFL is continuing regular dialogue with the Government and relevant health authorities and, as and when more information is known regarding the scale and extent of the coronavirus outbreak in this country, a decision will be taken on the resumption of the League’s fixtures. Conversations will continue with the EFL’s counterparts at the FA, the Premier League, the PFA and the LMA to ensure football achieves a joined-up and collaborative approach.”
The EFL also announced the preliminary agreement upon a massive financial relief package to assist smaller clubs up and down the league structure as they deal with the lack of income during the shutdown.
“Discussions centered on financial relief for Clubs in the short term and while there is no one single solution, measures are to be put in place to immediately assist with cash flow via a £50 million short-term relief package. This fund consists of the remaining Basic Award payments being advanced to Clubs immediately, with the remainder made up through interest-free loan facility available to Clubs.”
The statement confirmed that the package includes “potential government support” suggesting that the source of the relief is still under discussion.
Finally, the EFL affirmed its main objectives during this time as, “Ensure the health and well-being of our Clubs’ employees, supporters and communities, make a positive contribution to the UK’s efforts to tackle coronavirus, protect the EFL’s financial model and Club finances, enable the EFL to continue to function as a business, [and] deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season.”
More coronavirus connections to soccer:
- FIFA released a statement on coronavirus.
- EURO 2020 postponed to the summer of 2021.
- Juventus confirm that World Cup-winning midfielder Blaise Matuidi has joined defender Daniele Rugani in testing positive for coronavirus.
- Manager Frank Lampard says Hudson-Odoi is nearly back to his usual self.
- Mason Mount breaks self-isolation and ‘reminded of responsibilities’ by Chelsea.
- The Premier League has postponed play through at least April 3. Aston Villa’s chief executive called it “a very good decision” while Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said we must “protect each other.”
- CONCACAF has suspended play for a month, while UEFA postponed all fixtures next week ahead of a meeting to discuss plans for both club and international European competitions including the Champions League and Europa League.
- MLS announced its 2020 season is suspended for at least 30 days.
- Three Leicester City players are in self-isolation after displaying symptoms of coronavirus.
- Real Madrid players in isolation and La Liga games suspended for the next two weeks after Real basketball player tests positive for coronavirus.
- Serie A is considering alternative ways to conclude its scudetto and relegation races, including playoffs or the non-awarding of a champion.