Following the Government's decision not to include EFL Clubs in its 'Sport Winter Survival Package', Coventry City Chief Executive Dave Boddy has provided the following reaction to the news:
"Today the Government announced details of its Winter Sports Survival Package but has again failed to provide a financial lifeline for EFL Clubs.
The Government is providing support for 11 sports, all of whom rely on gate receipts, including Premiership Rugby Union, Rugby League and Horse Racing, but yet again is washing its hands of the crisis that is engulfing the EFL – instead trying to pass the buck to the Premier League.
During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Boris Johnson said: “We don’t want any football team to go out of business as a result of this pandemic and we’re doing everything we can.”
Today when announcing the Winter Sports Survival Package, Oliver Dowden (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) said: “Government will do everything we can to help our precious sports and clubs make it through covid.”
The evidence shows that the Government is not doing everything that it can and instead is putting its head in the sand and hoping for the Premier League to provide the support for the EFL Clubs instead.
Coventry City believes this is wrong, and the Government should treat football as it is treating other sports and provide the support to ensure it survives during this crisis and while the Government does not allow fans to return.
The nation’s sport is football and it is being left to fend for itself, despite it being the most significant sport in this country for its economic, social and community impact and the number of supporters it would normally have going through turnstiles.
On past occasions, this Government and previous Governments have used the power of sport and football to lift the nation, to support schemes and good causes.
The Premier League and the EFL are watched and enjoyed by billions of fans around the world, a great advert for our game and our country.
Now when football is in need, it is being abandoned by the Government.
The Premier League already provides substantial support each year to EFL Clubs - for example giving £4.65 million per annum in solidarity payments to each Championship club, plus payments to League 1 and League 2 Clubs meaning a total solidarity payment each year of just under £140 million to EFL Clubs. Without this existing support EFL Clubs would not be sustainable in their current guise and standards, and the product would be unrecognisable to what it is today.
It is widely acknowledged the impact that EFL Community Schemes have on their local areas, and we are very proud of the work of Sky Blues in the Community. The Premier League provides significant funding to EFL Clubs - supporting projects such as the PL Kicks scheme which provides opportunities to young people in priority areas of the City, or the PL Reading Stars project which encourages reading in schools. These are projects and tasks that arguably should fall to the Government to support, but instead are being funded by the Premier League, alongside an annual funding grant given by the Premier League to EFL Community Schemes.
The Premier League also make key financial contributions towards EFL Club Academies. Again, without this contribution Academies would be completely unsustainable and would affect the wider development of the game and talented young players in this country.
While some may make arguments about player wages in the game, EFL Championship Clubs alone contribute £40 million per month in PAYE tax and national insurance contributions to the Government. Other sports have sportsmen and women receiving similar wages, however have today been given this bailout by the Government.
In no other sport is the top-flight being expected to provide financial support for lower tiers by the Government. No other sport has the impact on and off the field of football.
Outside of sport, but still in the remit of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a huge £1.56 billion package was provided for the arts. At no stage did the Government ask larger organisations to support the smaller ones, but instead wrote the cheque to support an important industry.
This Government needs to take responsibility for football in the bad times as well as the good, and provide support for football now instead of when it is too late for Clubs and for the sport.
EFL Clubs’ impact up and down this country is huge and incomparable, and we believe that the Government is now putting the national sport at severe risk."