The EFL has announced a £50million short-term relief package to assist cash-strapped clubs during the coronavirus crisis.
Domestic professional football was brought to a halt on Friday in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19, with the sport pencilled in for a return in early April.
Few around the game expect the leagues to resume at that point and the EFL has moved to help clubs struggling with the ramifications of that suspension.
Finance was key among the topics discussed at Wednesday’s EFL board meeting, when a plan to help ease the financial burden was agreed.
In a statement, the competition said: “As part of the league’s continued contingency planning, the board heard the comments and observations from EFL clubs, before discussing a number of issues including the current financial position and implications, insurance, regulatory matters and broadcasting arrangements.
“Discussions centred 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 £50million short-term relief package.”
Such news will be a welcome shot in the arm to teams, with Covid-19 leaving League One and League Two clubs facing a reported £50million black hole.
The EFL board continues to review the threat and impact of the pandemic through a dedicated taskforce, but underlined that finishing the season is key.
“The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019-20 season, subject to the overriding priority around health and well-being,” the statement read.
“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.”
As it stands the EFL is due to resume on April 3, but the league has hinted at further suspension by announcing the Leasing.com Trophy final two days later will be postponed.
The EFL said of the April 5 clash between Salford and Portsmouth: “Over 50,000 tickets have been sold for the showpiece final, and the EFL does not want to be in a position whereby many thousands of supporters are forced to change their plans at late notice, so the decision has been taken in the best interest of all parties.”