07 April 2020

The FA could lose '£150 million or more' due to pandemic and clubs may well have to fold, warns chairman

The chairman of the Football Association says it could lose '£150 million or more' over the next two years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

And he feared clubs and leagues could fold as a result.

Greg Clarke, who was speaking at an FA council meeting on Tuesday, said: "Football, like many other sectors of the economy has been hit hard by effectively closing down its business. 

"From grassroots through the semi-professional pyramid to the professional game, clubs have closed, games are cancelled, terraces are empty and cash flow has stalled.

"Yesterday, Mark Bullingham, the FA Chief Executive, announced the measures the FA Board approved to stabilise our finances given the suspension of the games that drive our revenue streams. 

"The FA is suffering from the severe financial consequences of the pandemic which could be in the range £150 million upwards over the next two years. The pay cuts and furloughing we have implemented buys us time to understand more fully the duration of the lockdown and its economic impact on us.

"Football faces economic challenges beyond the wildest imagination of those who run it. The pandemic will be followed by its economic consequences and all business sectors will suffer.

"We face the danger of losing clubs and leagues as finances collapse. Many communities could lose the clubs at their heart with little chance of resurrection.

"Everyone should understand that the Premier League clubs are not immune from the impact of this and whilst they are impacted to different degrees depending on their cost base, the potential overall financial impact is huge."

While the FA want to finish the season, Clarke has said it is not the number one priority.

"We are committed to finishing the professional football season as this resolves the issues of promotion and relegation together with title winners on merit. However, we may not be able to finish the season as football is not our priority, human life is, and we will do as the Government directs as the pandemic unfolds.

"Further down the football pyramid, our Leagues have requested that the season is curtailed and that decision rests with the FA Council."

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