FA chief executive Mark Bullington confirmed Wednesday morning during an appearance on BBC News television that the organization has had discussions about how to keep smaller clubs afloat during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Bullington said that the FA is “aware of the situation” that a number of clubs could be severely impacted by a lengthy shutdown, as are many other small businesses around the globe that have fewer cash reserves to survive a period of zero income.
“Clearly many football clubs, as with many other businesses, will be struggling and we are aware of that,” Bullington said when asked if financial assistance or aid of any kind is being considered. “We have had conversations with government and with the other football stakeholders. It’d be inappropriate at the moment to go into any more details on them but we are aware of the situation.”
Bullingham said the same thing to Sky Sports earlier as well, saying, “We are aware that there are many clubs impacted throughout the EFL, National League and grassroots. We are continuing to speak to the government about that and the whole football family, we should all come together. In terms of specific details, I can’t go any further at this point.”
Fifth-tier Barnet FC on Tuesday placed its entire staff on notice of redundancy, mentioning the novel coronavirus as a partial cause for the need to conserve costs. Barnet was relegated from League Two at the end of the 2017/18 season, mentioning in its club statement that their parachute payments from the upper tiers will cease after this season.
Football clubs, even the smaller ones, are important community fixtures and also key employers in certain communities. A mass extinction due to a longer shutdown would be devastating to the overall health of the sport and clearly there is interest in keeping these businesses afloat as long as possible.