English Football League chairman Rick Parry has said the current season needs to be concluded before 31 July and that clubs face a “£200m hole” by September.
The former Liverpool chief executive admitted the EFL needed a “proper reset post-Covid”, with clubs currently “stacking up creditors”.
Parry said it was “difficult to answer” how many might go out of business.
He was giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee about the impact of coronavirus.
“Our end date realistically is 31 July because of the situation with contracts,” said Parry. “We can’t go beyond July.
“Players and staff have been furloughed and to expect clubs to bring them back in now, to forgo the furlough, only to then find in a month they can’t play would be a complete mess.
“We need within days to be taking decisions.”
He added: “We have a great deal of uncertainty around next season and the undetermined matter of when we’ll be able to return with crowds, which for the EFL is absolutely critical. We’re much more dependent upon the revenue and atmosphere generated by crowds than the Premier League.”
Parry covered a wide range of subjects during his 30 minutes giving evidence, including what should happen with promotion and relegation, his view on wage deferrals and the future of parachute payments.
Promotion and relegation
Parry, who was giving evidence alongside England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison and Rugby Football Union CEO Bill Sweeney, said he still expected three clubs to be promoted from the Championship to Premier League.
He added that it could get “very messy” if the threat of relegation from the top flight was removed – as has been reported.
“The Premier League is aware of our position on that,” he stated, going on to suggest “lawyers are going to get wealthy” if the Premier League opted not to relegate three teams.
“There would be a degree of outrage from a number of clubs in the Championship and it would be a breach of the tripartite agreement,” Parry continued.
Wage deferrals and cuts
Parry said he supported the Professional Footballers’ Association’s appointment of financial services firm Deloitte to look at club accounts and assesses if there was a genuine need for wages to be deferred.
“Our approach really is to say we’re all part of the problem and so we all need to be part of the solution; the clubs, the players and the owners,” he said. “We all need to share the pain.
“We’re having an open-book policy. We’re absolutely on board with the Deloitte process.”
Player contracts in the EFL
Explaining the situation around player contracts, Parry said the “landscape going forwards has got to change”.
“We have 1400 players coming out of contract at the end of June,” he said. “That is a train coming down the tunnel very quickly.
“They are going to be extremely concerned about their futures.”
More to follow.