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Coronavirus: English football faces up to crisis point as cash flows dry up

By John Skilbeck
Premier League and PFA in key talks

London, March 28: English football chiefs have warned "difficult decisions" lie ahead as leagues and clubs attempt to avoid a financial calamity.

The coronavirus pandemic has shut down football across the country, and there is no prospect of any resumption before April 30 at the earliest.

Clubs are missing out of gate receipts that to some are their lifeblood, with players and staff at a number of teams being asked to take pay cuts.

Talks between the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and the players' union - the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) - took place on Friday, and more are planned for next week.

They are sure to have centred on the workforce, with several of the world's biggest clubs, including Spanish giants Barcelona, said to be asking stars to accept a reduced wage.

Reports in England have claimed some clubs have looked at putting players on the UK Government's furlough scheme, thereby avoiding paying a proportion of wages during the unforeseen lay-off. Wage deferrals are also said to have been discussed.

A joint statement issued after the meeting said: "The Premier League, EFL and PFA met today and discussed the growing seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was stressed that the thoughts of all three organisations continue to be with everyone affected by the virus.

"The Premier League, EFL and PFA agreed that difficult decisions will have to be taken in order to mitigate the economic impact of the current suspension of professional football in England and agreed to work together to arrive at shared solutions.

"The leagues will not recommence until April 30 at the earliest. They will only do so when it is safe and conditions allow.

"Further meetings will take place next week with a view to formulating a joint plan to deal with the difficult circumstances facing the leagues, their clubs, players, staff and fans."

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Story first published: Saturday, March 28, 2020, 0:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 28, 2020
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