Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has said that Premier League clubs will be asked to provide financial support for lower league clubs impacted on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
All sport has been heavily impacted on by a loss of matchday revenue, and the Premier League has said that its members have felt the impact to the tune of a loss of £700 million. However, Premier League clubs – and to a lesser extent, Championship clubs - benefit from extremely lucrative television rights packages.
Speaking to Sky Sports on Sunday, Dowden said: "The first thing we need to look to is the Premier League and I've been in contact with them this week.
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"We're all agreed the Premier League needs to step up to the plate and they're having intensive discussions with the EFL [English Football League] over how they can support those clubs. They're ready to play their part, the Prime Minister and I have been urging them to do that.
"The direction is clear... I'm in close consultation with them and I'm hopeful they will be able to reach a deal and provide that level of support."
However, details remain to be seen regarding how any such scheme would work, with Premier League clubs’ fortunes varying wildly.
Earlier in the year a number of clubs announced pay cuts for playing and coaching staff, with Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe taking a “significant voluntary” pay cut, while Brighton boss Graham Potter said he, as well as the club’s chief executive and technical director, would forgo three months wages.
Meanwhile, other clubs including Tottenham and Liverpool who later revised their plans, were criticised for signing up to the government’s furloughing scheme for non-playing staff.
It is not the first time in the pandemic in which the government has looked to football to provide answers to trickier funding questions. Health Secretary Matt Hancock was widely criticised earlier this year when he made comments during a public ministerial briefing about the wealth of individual players.
At the time, BBC presenter and former England international Gary Lineker said: "Football is always an easy target but where are the big businessmen, where are the CEOs of these enormous companies, what are they doing at the moment?"
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