‘This is unprecedented… it’s not mismanagement’: Former PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle tells Piers Morgan lower-league clubs WILL go bust without Government cash bailout in the absence of fans in stadiums
- The coronavirus pandemic has left many football clubs facing risk of going bust
- Clarke Carlisle has now laid bare the bleak financial situation in lower leagues
- He has called on the Government to help with a cash bailout in absence of fans
- Earlier this week, MPs and top football figures wrote letter to Culture Secretary
The former PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle has laid bare the bleak financial situation facing lower-league clubs and insists sides will go bust without Government help.
The coronavirus pandemic has left many Football League sides in a precarious position and every month that passes without fans through the gates sees them edging ever closer to oblivion.
Speaking to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain, Carlisle insisted that the Government need to step in and help clubs with a cash bailout like they have done with the arts industry.
Clarke Carlisle, the former chairman of the PFA, spoke about football’s bleak financial situation
He told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid (top left) about how the coronavirus has affected clubs
‘It’s a very real risk, Piers,’ Carlisle said. ‘My position on this is really quite solid. These clubs aren’t in jeopardy or trouble through any fault of their own. This is no mismanagement, this isn’t a club over-speculating and failing to accumulate.
‘This is an unprecedented circumstance that has been imposed upon the entirety of football. The Government have stepped in to support the arts, but the difference between the two industries is that the top theatre companies, the whole ethos and structure of their support isn’t dependent on the pyramid of that industry. Football is different.
‘The 92 clubs, the very pyramid system that allows a club like Salford, MK Dons, to come from the non-League and all the way through the leagues, and someone like Leicester to win the Premier League unexpectedly, they’re all dependent on that flow of clubs up and down the league, and players up and down the league. That’s not the same in other industries.’
The delayed return of fans to stadiums has hit the finances of lower-league clubs very hard
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has received a letter – signed by MPs, football administrators and directors – warning clubs need urgent help and will go to the wall unless action is taken
The situation facing teams in the EFL, National League and beyond was detailed in a letter sent to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden this week.
The document, co-signed by 17 individuals including former Football Association chairmen Greg Dyke and Lord Triesman and BBC and BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage, says help is urgently needed to ward off the threat of financial collapse.
The Government announced last week that plans for spectators to return to sports venues from October 1 had been scrapped due to a rise in coronavirus infections.
Dowden has now been told that without some sort of rescue package, a number of clubs will be lost.
A number of EFL and National League clubs are concerned they can’t go on for much longer
Boris Johnson revealed a string of new measures to try and fight coronavirus last week, and the return of fans to football matches has been delayed
‘Without any plans being made to rescue clubs, many in the EFL and others in the National League as well, are now actively preparing to make all but essential staff redundant, cease playing, close down their youth academies and community foundations, and put their business into administration,’ the letter warns.
‘This could lead not only to the failure of many historic community clubs, but the collapse of the national league structure that we have known for over one hundred years. These are decisions that will be made in the coming weeks, with many clubs unable to meet their payroll obligations for next month.’
Government sources have indicated that professional football is unlikely to receive any funding from a planned rescue package for sport.
The FA and EFL will continue to liaise with the Government over the return of fans to stadiums
Clubs in the Football League and National League could be lost if fans don’t return soon, the Government has been warned – empty stadiums, such as Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium (above), have meant a devastating loss of revenue for already cash-strapped clubs
The Premier League did not ask the Government for money and there is a widespread acceptance none will be forthcoming. This will alarm many clubs in League One and League Two who fear they will go bust if they do not receive additional funding in the next two months.
While there is an appetite in Government to provide assistance for the women’s game and at National League level, sources have disclosed to Sportsmail that Downing Street does not feel it should be called upon to deliver a rescue package for the Premier League and the EFL.
There is also a strong belief in Westminster that the Premier League should agree a bailout package with the EFL, in the form of aid or a loan, to see clubs through the crisis.