EFL chief Rick Parry says everyone involved with the league needs to ‘share in the pain’
English Football League (EFL) chairman Rick Parry has warned that clubs face a £200m financial hole by September.
The former Liverpool chief executive also targeted a “proper reset” as he gave evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) on Tuesday about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on sport.
Parry said the aim of the league remained to resume play when it was safe to do so, but he acknowledged playing games behind closed doors could actually be a loss-making venture for some clubs.
- Project Restart: A key week ahead
- FA chairman: Hard to see fans in stadiums any time soon
He admitted it was “difficult to answer” how many clubs might go out of business.
“We would like to emerge stronger and leaner, with a proper reset post-Covid. We are heading for a financial hole of £200m by the end of September,” Parry said.
“Clubs are stacking up creditors and there are a great deal of uncertainties.”
Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Bryan Swanson and reporter Kaveh Solhekol look ahead to a key week for football as the government announces its latest plans over the coronavirus pandemic
Parry said he hoped players would be willing to take pay cuts despite previous resistance.
He said the EFL was on board with the PFA’s appointment of financial services firm Deloitte to look at clubs’ books to assess if there was genuine need for a club to be deferring wages.
- ‘PL, EFL restart wouldn’t work if crowds show up at games’
- EFL: Return depends on ‘suitable testing’
“We all need to share in the pain,” Parry said.
“We are really having an open-book policy, and we are going to show (the players) how deep the pain is. We are absolutely on board with the Deloitte process.”
Parry said the EFL still expect three clubs to be promoted from the Championship to the Premier League.
Graeme Souness believes it will be very difficult for the Premier League season to be completed with games at neutral venues, claiming ‘every club is looking after their own house’
There have been reports that top-flight clubs want to play out the season with the threat of relegation removed, but Parry said it would get very “messy” if that happened.
“We expect three Championship clubs to be promoted – the Premier League are aware of our position on that. The Premier League expects three clubs to be relegated,” he said.
Asked what would happen if the Premier League’s position changed, Parry added: “There would be a degree of outrage from a number of clubs in our Championship, and it would be a breach of the tripartite agreement.
“The safe answer is that it would get very messy. Our expectation is there would be three clubs promoted from the Championship.”
The head of UK football police unit, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, explains his concerns over the return of competitive football after the coronavirus lockdown
ECB fear £380m loss in ‘worst-case scenario’
Also giving evidence to the DCMS was England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison who said the impact of the pandemic could cost his organisation £380m.
“We are still working out the impact of Covid-19,” he said. “We anticipate with no cricket this year a worst-case scenario could be as bad as £380m.
- ECB in talks to reschedule WI and SL series
- Roy: Playing behind closed doors strange
“That would be the loss of 800 days of cricket across all of our professional clubs and the ECB. That is the worst-case scenario for us this year.”
There will be no professional cricket before July, but Harrison remains hopeful of fitting in a “significant” number of Test matches.
England are due to play West Indies and Pakistan at home this summer.
He added: “With a following wind hopefully will be able to play a significant number of Test matches this summer which will helps us mitigate those financial losses that we are facing at the moment.”