Sheffield Wednesday could FINALLY receive multi-million pound boost - but is the deal 'all that'?
The Premier League and EFL have drawn up a £200m plan to support Championship clubs rocked financially by the nature of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri spelled out the seriousness of the financial situation with no fans in stadiums and criticised a perceived lack of leadership by the sport’s governing bodies as clubs including the Owls struggle on without the benefit of matchday revenue.
Along with other clubs, Wednesday will be able to apply for an interest-free loan of £8.33m from a specially ring-fenced cash pot to cover PAYE liability.
The bailout package will also see clubs in League One and League Two handed grants amounting to £50m, which they will not have to pay back.
Should the loan be taken out by Wednesday, it would be paid back out of the solidarity payments handed over by the Premier League in seasons to come. It would have to be paid back in full by 2024 and the plan has been criticised by some as a way of simply ‘kicking the financial issues down the road’.
In a statement, EFL chairman Rick Parry said: “Our over-arching aim throughout this process has been to ensure that all EFL Clubs survive the financial impact of the pandemic.
“I am pleased that we have now reached a resolution on behalf of our Clubs and as we have maintained throughout this will provide much needed support and clarity following months of uncertainty.
“I would like to thank Richard Masters and Gary Hoffman for their efforts on behalf of the Premier League, and of course their shareholders, for making this welcome, tangible commitment to the professional game at a time when it has needed it most.”
Governing bodies have been criticised for not providing support sooner to clubs. In their latest publicly-available set of accounts, matchday revenue accounted for around 37 per cent of Wednesday’s overall income throughout the season. With Sheffield in Tier 3 of the Government’s local restriction ruling, there is no date as to when fans will be allowed back into Hillsborough.
The government last month agreed to provide £300m in aid for sport, but none to male professional football on the grounds that the sport should be financially solvent enough to save itself.