Published On: Mon, Mar 16th, 2020

EFL schedule emergency meeting on Wednesday as coronavirus threatens future of clubs | Football | Sport

The EFL board are set for an emergency meeting on Wednesday – with the league’s governing body coming under massive pressure to outline contingency plans to help smaller clubs potentially going out of business.

And some clubs are calling on cash-rich Premier League sides to help out smaller outfits in the crisis. 

The EFL and the Premier League on Friday cancelled all games until April 3/4 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the country.

The EFL are determined to finish their schedule, even if it means playing into June and July.

But clubs are demanding that the league spell out their plans to help teams who will miss out on vital gate, television and sponsorship money with games cancelled during the break – and even more if the campaign does not even restart.

One EFL club chairman has proposed that the league should set up an emergency cashflow fund that would help smaller clubs through the crisis.

But League One AFC Wimbledon commercial director Ivor Heller said: “If every club in the Premier League put a couple of million in, that would trickle down like you can’t believe.

“If some of the players, with the massive contracts that they are on, realised that the fabric of their game is under threat.

“They are nothing with the root and branch and the grassroots side of football in this country.

“But do I expect that to happen? No I don’t.”

But, Heller added: “The EFL need to talk to the stakeholders, the clubs, and find out what they want to do. We need real leadership and common sense.

“There is no point in re-scheduling games for April when we do not know when the peak of the virus is going to be.

“The EFL have to make arrangements to help out the smaller clubs. We don’t know if these remaining games are going to get played.

“As a club we are totally reliant on match day income. My opinion is that the season is over. These remaining games I cannot see being played. We just do not know when this disease is going to peak.”

Meanwhile the National League board are expected to meet on Sunday under major pressure from their clubs to cancel all their games after coming under attack for playing at the weekend amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Six games were played in the National League, and 17 in their North and South Divisions on Saturday, while the Premier and Football Leagues all cancelled their fixtures – as well as most league below their level.

The National League came under fierce criticism from managers and players for their stance in ordering teams to play at the weekend.

One game is due to be played on Monday night – Gloucester City vs Kings Lynn – and 11 tomorrow night. 

But the league are now under real pressure to fall into line with the rest of English football and call a halt to their games.

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