Daily Express

You can’t tell me with Chelsea spend­ing £ 200m there’s no money to help the EFL clubs


- By John Cross Sports · Soccer · Soccer Business · Chelsea F.C. · League One · Wigan

GILLING­HAM chair­man Paul Scally fears dozens of EFL clubs will go bust un­less the Premier League come to their res­cue.

Scally says his League One out­fit are los­ing £ 40,000 a week and will not sur­vive un­til Christ­mas af­ter it was an­nounced sup­port­ers will not be al­lowed back into games.

The out­spo­ken Gills supremo be­lieves it will be the same for other teams and in­sists the mega- rich fat cats in the top flight “must step up and do the right thing”.

Premier League sides have been dis­cussing fi­nan­cial help for EFL clubs with a new bailout, which has be­come even more im­por­tant af­ter the Gov­ern­ment blocked fans re­turn­ing from Oc­to­ber 1.

Scally, right, said: “You can­not tell me that, with Chelsea spend­ing £ 200mil­lion in the trans­fer mar­ket, there is no money in the Premier League to help out the EFL clubs.

“We should be a fam­ily in foot­ball. We’ve been a fam­ily for 125 years and now when a mem­ber of the fam­ily is strug­gling badly, it’s time for wealthy big brother to step up and help.

“This lat­est blow will be dev­as­tat­ing for clubs in the EFL. I’ve been wor­ried sick about it. Last night I woke up at 4am be­cause I couldn’t sleep through worry. It’s a day- to- day existence.

“We’ve been told they are go­ing to try to help us, I don’t know in what form, but that can’t come soon enough oth­er­wise clubs will go out of busi­ness.

“At the mo­ment, we are sur­viv­ing purely on what we get from the TV con­tract but that’s not sus­tain­able. You can’t go on like that for any length of time. We rely on match- day rev­enue and all the an­cil­lary busi­ness that goes with that. We are los­ing £ 40,000 a week at the mo­ment and would be out of busi­ness by Christ­mas. It’ll be the same for so many oth­ers but I can’t worry about them be­cause we have to fo­cus on our­selves.

“Some clubs will be worse off than us, some will have bene­fac­tors but this is dev­as­tat­ing for all of us. I’ve got to hope the Premier League do the right thing and I’m putting my faith in them, [ chair­man] Rick Parry and his EFL to come to the res­cue. The Premier League will know the im­por­tance of the foot­ball pyra­mid and help the fam­ily in our hour of need.”

EFL clubs had been given the go- ahead to start pi­lot schemes of hav­ing 1,000 fans back to try to set up a path­way for larger crowds as the sea­son went on. But that has been put on hold by the Gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing a rise in coro­n­avirus cases, leav­ing foot­ball at cri­sis point and many EFL clubs fear­ing they will go to the wall.

Scally said: “The re­al­ity is that 1,000 fans is not enough and you could even ar­gue it’s not re­ally cost ef­fec­tive to have to look af­ter that num­ber. But the hope was we’d have fans back in sooner rather than later.

“I would even put up with the abuse that I get just to get them back in.

“I went to Wi­gan on Satur­day, drove 400- odd miles there and back, sat with my daugh­ter with a few of their staff, a few jour­nal­ists and it was a ter­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence. With­out fans, foot­ball is noth­ing.”

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 ?? Main pic­ture: GLYN KIRK ?? Fans at Brighton ob­serve so­cial dis­tanc­ing in a pre­sea­son game with Chelsea
Main pic­ture: GLYN KIRK Fans at Brighton ob­serve so­cial dis­tanc­ing in a pre­sea­son game with Chelsea
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