Chances are that if you’re reading this blog you are already painfully aware of the parlous state of the finances of many clubs in the English Football League – that is, the 72 clubs outside the Premiership organised over 3 divisions from the Sky Bet Championship to Sky Bet League 2.

Rather than re-work why we are here, we’re going to focus entirely on managing expectations and the practical steps can be taken to improve the outlook for many of these clubs, their staff, local communities and supporters.     

Whatever becomes of version 2 of the ‘Project Big Picture’ will by definition, improve the distribution of TV money across the leagues. BUT, it will not be fast enough to save many league 1 and 2 clubs. Of course, we know many other clubs further down the pyramid are also suffering and we will be offering support to this community separately.    

Football clubs have high fixed costs and so cutting variable costs like wages & sacking staff might help a club get a bit closer to balancing income with costs but doesn’t in any way ensure survival when income right now is hard to come by.

Clubs expected to cover the significant cost of COVID-19 testing whilst playing out the rest of the season. This will lose more money compared to if the season was cancelled now.

Academy & women’s football programs will be the most affected.

We believe that EFL clubs lie in the heart of British culture, society, foreign reputation, and healthy living. Those that can be saved should be.

We see survival as a 3 legged stool:

  • Self-help
  • Government help
  • External help

The first two of these are meaty topics which we’ll cover separately but safe to say that given the current governmental direction of travel, it is highly unlikely that any material support will be made available from taxpayer funds.

The third leg is where we step in right now – much has been written in the media that the interest in EFL football clubs as financial investments is at its lowest point in a generation. That is to say that those clubs without a very wealthy owner are not attractive to external investors or partners. It is critical to debunk this right here, right now. In fact, for the right strategic investor, this is without doubt the single most attractive point in time to influence and enter English football in the last 30 years. Risk & return go hand in hand when buying a sports franchise.  

We are in contact with a variety of credible parties who believe in the long term tiered model of English football & have finance and support available now.

So this blog is actually a call to arms to the UK Government, leadership of the EFL & Premier League & all the member clubs to engage with us and our peer group to find a fast, pragmatic solution.

Let’s fling the door wide open & be ready to do deals unimaginable 6 months ago to ensure the survival of clubs, protect jobs & ensure our leagues are ready for the inevitable return to  

Let’s face facts – there is a very small and limited pool of candidates in the UK who have the means and appetite to invest in football. We must not place undue roadblocks in front of foreign interest and embrace the benefits

Many sports facing the same issues are taking radical action, Formula 1 is quickly becoming a small group of big brand teams who own feeder teams – whilst there are detractors, it will ensure that we have a full grid next season. The same creativity is needed in football.      

We are realists, we know that some clubs were already in bad shape even before 2020. External investors are no more likely to invest now even if the price has dropped.

If your professional or semi-professional club is affected by these issues get in touch at info@athletz.org or call +44 0330 133 2344, our team is working around the clock to provide practical support, guidance, and financial solutions.