FA chairman Greg Clarke: English football could ‘lose clubs and leagues’

English football faces “the danger of losing clubs and leagues” amid economic challenges “beyond the wildest imagination”, says Football Association chairman Greg Clarke.

The season has been halted indefinitely amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Some clubs have placed non-playing staff on temporary leave, while talks continue over the salaries of players.

“Many communities could lose the clubs at their heart with little chance of resurrection,” said Clarke.

Premier League chief Richard Masters has also warned of a £1bn loss if the 2019-20 season cannot be completed, and “further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future”.

In a letter to Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee – who accused top-flight football of being in a “moral vacuum” – Masters defended clubs’ rights to furlough staff.

Masters wrote: “The furlough scheme announced by Government is meant for the whole economy, including many enterprises which might be regarded as providing entertainment or otherwise dependent on elite talent.

“Not only is our industry facing losses now, but to be realistic, we must also base our plans on full recovery being some distance away.

“Ultimately, the very heavy losses that we face will have to be dealt with or else clubs or other enterprises who depend on football for income will go out of business.”

Knight continued his criticism on Tuesday, adding: “It is time for the Premier League to stop defending the indefensible.

“It is frankly laughable to think that clubs are showing restraint on use of government money to pay non-playing staff and flies in the face of public opinion. Liverpool has listened to fans, done the right thing and changed its mind.”

Source: BBC Sports