Premier League must ‘step up’ to save Football League clubs from going bust, new government report warns

The Premier League must “step up” to help the Football League or many more professional clubs will be plunged into insolvency, a new government report has warned.

Bolton Wanderers, Bury and Wigan Athletic have all entered administration or been forced to negotiate a company voluntary agreement (CVA) since May last year. Bury folded after being expelled from the Football League and the newly formed Bury AFC will begin life in the 10th tier next season.

The report by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) concluded “the current football business model is not sustainable”.

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“The Covid-19 crisis has shone a stark light on the financial issues within football, specifically in the leagues below the Premier League. The Premier League is the main income generator of English football. If it does not step up to help the English Football League, many more clubs will follow in Bury FC’s footsteps.”

The report, which also called for homophobic chanting at football stadiums to be made illegal and raised concerns over the lockdown’s impact on women’s elite sport, added that the EFL also needs to take responsibility for its own struggling financial structure.

It said: “The EFL needs also to ensure it develops a more sustainable financial model.”

EFL chairman Rick Parry told the DCMS select committee that there needs to be a “reset” in the way football in England is structured to avoid mass insolvencies.

“I wouldn’t call it a bailout, I’d call it a restructuring, a rethinking,” said Parry. ”For me, it is overdue and necessary.”

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