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Premier League 'may be reluctant' to bail out EFL clubs

Sky News business presenter Ian King believes there may be a reluctance by Premier League clubs to offer financial support to their EFL counterparts.

Every League One club contacted by Sky Sports as part of a recent survey felt teams in the English top flight should provide assistance as they deal with the loss of income generated through the absence of matchday revenue due to the coronavirus crisis.

Six clubs in that level say they are not confident they will be able to complete the current season without a bailout.

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There are ongoing discussions between the Premier League, the government and the EFL as to whether financial assistance will be granted but King feels it may not be forthcoming.

“Looking at some of the comments you’re hearing it doesn’t feel like that is going to be imminent – the government has made it very clear that it feels the Premier League should support clubs elsewhere in the league pyramid,” he said.

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“But if you look at other sectors, nowhere else is a company being asked to support a competitor, it just doesn’t happen like that and I think a lot of Premier League clubs will think ‘why should we bail out clubs, for example, in the Championship who might be competing with us this time next year?’

“It’s a very strange set of circumstances. The Premier League is awash with cash but even there we’re seeing their ability to spend being crimped. If you look at Arsenal they are quite dependent on matchday revenue so their ability to support their competitors might have been crimped.”

King did, however, cite the example of Ollie Watkins – a product of a League Two club, Exeter City – as evidence that the Premier League is still reliant on the EFL for player recruitment.

“A classic example is Ollie Watkins – he scored a hat-trick for Aston Villa against Liverpool on Sunday and he came from Brentford, but before he was at Brentford he was at Exeter City, a club right down the pyramid,” he said.

“Exeter got something like £4m in add-ons when he moved from Brentford to Aston Villa so that’s a perfect example of how a player nurtured in the lower leagues can provide the talent base for the future.

“But also look at where Premier League clubs have been buying during this window – they’ve been buying a lot more from Europe than they have from the Championship and lower down the pyramid.”

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