EXCLUSIVE: Premier League and EFL FINALLY agree a £250M bailout – and money could be ‘flowing within a week’ to crisis clubs after top tier was pushed into offering a more generous package for Leagues One and Two
- The rescue package includes £30m in grants and £20m in loans for lower leagues
- Clubs have been pushed to the brink by the coronavirus pandemic that has prevented fans from attending matches and massively reduced their income
- Premier League and EFL have been criticised for the time taken to agree the deal
- A £200m loan will be available to support Championship clubs to pay wages
- Club officials desperate for support think they could receive help within a week
The EFL have accepted a £250million bailout offer from the Premier League after the top-flight clubs agreed to provide a more generous funding package to clubs in League One and League Two.
Sportsmail has learned that at a meeting this morning the EFL Board voted to take the money on offer from the Premier League, which will be made available immediately to those clubs in the bottom two divisions in the greatest financial need.
The Premier League will also formally sign off the deal at their shareholders’ meeting today ending a lengthy stand-off that began last May when the government made clear that a rescue package was needed for the lower leagues.
The Premier League and EFL have been in discussion over a bailout deal for months
Anxious club chairmen hope the cash will start flowing to crisis clubs ‘within a week’,
Football League clubs, which are the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, have been successful in pushing the Premier League into improving their offer to Leagues One and Two.
The top-tier will now provide more money in grants and the loan fund will be available on more favourable terms, Sportsmail understands.
The government last month agreed to provide £300m in aid for sport, but none to male professional football on the grounds that the sport should be financially solvent enough to save itself.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has pushed the EFL and Premier League to agree a deal
The original offer to Leagues One and Two was £20m in grants and £30m in loans. EFL clubs pushed back and asked for the whole sum to be available in grants, arguing they were already struggling with a heavy debt burden.
The new offer will be £30m in grants and £20m in loans, but the terms of the lending will be much improved.
One club official told Sportsmail: ‘I think it will be acceptable to League One and Two clubs. There is a real prospect of money flowing within a week.’
Rick Parry, chairman of the EFL ( left) and the Premier League’s chief executive Richard Masters (right) have appeared before MPs on the DCMS Select Committee
How the rescue package works
Support for Clubs in League One and League Two
The relief package will provide a combined fund of £50m for League One and League Two Clubs, with £30m to be paid to all 48 Clubs as a grant and a further £20m available on application as a ‘monitored grant’.
A £30m grant to be paid immediately from the Premier League to EFL Clubs for distribution based on lost gate receipts in respect of the 2019/20 and 2020/21 Season.
Each Club will receive a minimum payment of £375,000 in League One and £250,000 in League Two.
The remaining £15m to be distributed using a lost gate revenue share calculation, which will be approved by both the EFL and the Premier League.
In addition, a further £20m ‘monitored grant’ is to be provided with clubs able to apply for it based on ‘need’, with a joint EFL and Premier League panel to determine Club eligibility.
Clubs subsequently in receipt of a ‘monitored grant’ will be subject to certain restrictions, in respect to transfer spend and player wages.
Clubs who keep to the restrictions will not have to repay any of the funding required, whereas for clubs in breach, the ‘monitored grant’ becomes repayable by the club.
Any club in receipt of a grant or monitored grant payment will be required to continue to maintain compliance with the EFL’s financial regulations.
Support for Championship Clubs
The Premier League has also agreed to provide a payment commitment of up to £15m to cover interest, arrangement fees and professional fees to allow the EFL to secure a £200m loan facility that it will then on-lend to Championship clubs interest free.
The loan facility is provided to support clubs in the Championship to meet PAYE liabilities up to the end of 30 June 2021.
Loans are capped at £8.33m per Championship club with monies received to be repaid by June 2024 using Premier League solidarity receipts or other central Premier League or EFL Distributions.
This fund is not available to any club in breach or suspected breach of EFL regulations and clubs will again need to submit evidence in their applications to club eligibility.
Any club in receipt of a loan payment as detailed will be required to continue to maintain compliance with the EFL’s financial regulations.
Chairmen in the lower leagues will be keen to see the detail since the last offer was not acceptable to them Another club official told Sportsmail that he still had reservations.
‘There is not enough to go around,’ said the official. ‘There is absolutely no chance it will cover it.’
In addition to the support for Leagues One and Two, a further £200m will be made available in loans to clubs in the Championship seeking extra funding to pay their wages while the number of fans attending matches remains severely restricted.
Some EFL clubs are now allowed to admit spectators to grounds but numbers are limited
The issue of aid for the Championship has been the biggest sticking point during the occasionally acrimonious negotiations between the Premier League and EFL that have taken seven months to resolve, with many in the top-flight reluctant to help clubs they view as rivals seeking to usurp them, particularly as many of them have wealthy owners.
EFL chairman Rick Parry and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters have been heavily criticised for the time it has taken to agree a bailout.
During an appearance before the Department of Culture Media and Sport select committee on November 10, the chairman, Julian Knight MP, described their efforts to reach a deal as a ‘farce’.
Parry, said: “Our over-arching aim throughout this process has been to ensure that all EFL clubs survive the financial impact of the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has raised fears clubs could be forced out of business
‘I am pleased that we have now reached a resolution on behalf of our clubs and as we have maintained throughout this will provide much needed support and clarity following months of uncertainty.
Masters, said: “The Premier League is a huge a supporter of the football pyramid and is well aware of the important role clubs play in their communities. Our commitment is that no EFL club need go out of business due to COVID-19.’
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has consistently pushed both organisations to finalise a rescue package.
Premier League chief Richard Masters says the top-flight is a supporter of the football pyramid
‘I warmly welcome this deal between the Premier League and the EFL which provides up to £250 million support to help clubs through covid,’ he said in a statement.
‘I’m glad that football has come together to agree this substantial package. Fans are starting to return and we look forward to building on this as soon as it’s safe.
‘With a £250 million support package for men’s elite football and £300 million Government funding for women’s football, the National League and other major spectator sports we have fuel in the tank to get clubs and sports through this.’
DCMS select committee chairman Julian Knight said efforts to agree a bailout were a ‘farce’