March 18, 2020 / 6:56 PM / 12 days ago

England's Football League aims to complete season, sets up £50 million fund

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Championship - Coronavirus impact on the Championship - Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, Britain - March 14, 2020 General view of a padlock on a gate at the Riverside Stadium as the EFL Championship is suspended due to the number of coronavirus cases growing around the world Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - England’s Football League, representing the three divisions below the Premier League, said it is aiming to complete the current season and has put in place a 50 million pound fund to help with the impact of the coronavirus on clubs.

“The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season, subject to the over-riding priority around health and well-being,” the EFL, which represents 72 clubs, said on Wednesday.

There have been a number of ideas floated for shortening or voiding the season but the EFL said it remained committed to getting the season completed but was not able to offer a date for resumption.

“The EFL is continuing regular dialogue with the government and relevant health authorities and, as and when more information is known regarding the scale and extent of the coronavirus outbreak in this country, a decision will be taken on the resumption of the League’s fixtures,” the league said.

It added that league officials were in touch with the Football Association and the Premier League and other stakeholders to ensure a “joined-up and collaborative approach.”

The EFL also said it was launching a 50 million pound fund to help deal with some of the impact of the stoppage.

“Measures are to be put in place to immediately assist with cash flow via a £50million short-term relief package,” it said.

“This fund consists of the remaining Basic Award payments being advanced to clubs immediately, with the remainder made up through interest-free loan facility available to clubs, calculated in line with the EFL’s Article of Associations.

“The cash injection is included as part of a series of measures, that includes potential government support to help clubs and their associated businesses through this period of uncertainty.”

Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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