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Premier League deserve praise for EFL bailout as Government failed – Dale Vince

Dale Vince File Photo
(Image credit: Andrew Matthews)

The Premier League has been praised by a League Two chairman for the EFL bailout, saying it had stepped in where the Government had failed to.

The leagues announced a deal worth £250million had been agreed on Thursday to protect EFL clubs suffering financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Each club in Leagues One and Two will receive a minimum of £375,000 and £250,000 respectively plus a share of a further £15m based on a gate revenue calculation.

They will then be able to apply to access a monitored grant scheme worth £20m in total based on need, and conditional on compliance with EFL regulations.

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The Premier League will also fund up to £15m to cover interest and arrangement fees which will enable the EFL to set up a £200m loan facility for Championship clubs.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden welcomed the deal, but Forest Green chairman Dale Vince felt it was not something the Premier League should have been obliged to do.

He told the PA news agency: “It’s something for us to be grateful to the Premier League for sincerely because they didn’t have to do this.

“They have done it because they wanted to. Maybe they had a bit of pressure from the Government, but I see it as a voluntary act of kindness.

“If you look across society, I don’t think there’s another example of somebody like the Premier League helping out its neighbours and industry fellows.

Vince felt it was not something the Premier League should have been obliged to do

Vince felt it was not something the Premier League should have been obliged to do (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Supermarkets haven’t done it. They have just this week been handing back hundreds of millions in rate relief that they haven’t needed because they have had a boom – they haven’t been helping the high street.

“Uniquely, this Government thought that the Premier League should bail out football while it’s bailed out rugby, horseracing, the arts, pubs, all sorts of sectors but refuses to do anything for the football pyramid.

“We’ve been affected by lockdown restrictions, and every other sector of business that has had those restrictions has had support – we’ve had none.

“Fair play to the Premier League, I think it’s brilliant what they have done. It’s a standout, unique example in our country.”

On the level of funding, Vince said: “It’s definitely going to help and there is going to be a range of impacts from one end of the spectrum to the other.

“Clubs with bigger gates will have suffered bigger losses and this won’t recoup those for them, but they should have made adjustments at the start of the season and seen it coming and cut their budget.

“We did that, so what we get from this will definitely make a big difference to us and make it easier to get to the end of the season whatever comes next.”

Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, criticised the time it had taken to reach the agreement.

“We share the frustration of fans that it has taken this long,” he said.

“We, as a committee, have long pressed the Premier League and the EFL to reach an agreement.

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“It cannot be right that in the middle of a pandemic the Government has been drawn into sorting out wrangles at the top of the game because football chiefs were incapable of doing it themselves.

“This fiasco is evidence of a lack of accountability within football’s governance structure, demonstrating the urgent need for a review of how the business of football can be better managed in the interests of the clubs, fans and the nation.”

Vince strongly disagreed that there was a governance issue in football.

“I think the Government have abdicated their responsibility to football and heaped it all on the Premier League. This is not a governance issue, this is a Government issue,” he said.

“It’s the Government’s responsibility to help everybody out that’s affected by the pandemic, and they have failed. The Premier League have stepped in where the Government refused to. Shame on them.”