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Clubs across the English Football League (EFL) will start to disappear in a matter of weeks unless they can be financially supported.
That’s according to Nigel Travis, chairman of the League Two club Leyton Orient, who is convinced that clubs are under such financial pressures that they face real and imminent threats to their survival in the context of Covid-19.
“If clubs don’t get something soon you will see clubs disappear, I would predict, within five to six weeks,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
However, Mr Travis has been keen to stress the idea that football clubs across the EFL have been struggling financially for some time and not simply because they have been unable to host supporters since the onset of the pandemic.
“One thing I need to quash,” he said, “is this isn’t about the pandemic, this is about a crisis in football that goes back many years.”
“Before the pandemic, 75 per cent of clubs were losing money - that can’t continue. The pandemic has, if you like, exacerbated the problem and we need to get it fixed.”
The Leyton Orient chairman went on to describe as “very promising” a controversial set of structural reform proposals for English football put forward recently by Liverpool and Manchester United football clubs.
The proposals have been dubbed ‘Project Big Picture’ and they outline plans that would see the number of clubs in the Premier League reduced from 20 to 18, with the EFL being promised a 25 per cent share of money from future TV deals and an immediate £250 million bail out.
“This is a great proposal as far as we’re concerned,” Mr Travis told the BBC. “It is certainly very promising and clubs need it. Something like this has to go through.”
Much of the controversy around the Big Picture proposals relates to aspects that would see nine of the longest standing Premier League clubs given ‘special voting rights’ and more power over future decision making for the entire league.
Both the community shield and the league cup competitions would also be scrapped if the proposals were to be implemented.
No direct financial support has yet been given to EFL clubs by government but clubs in the National League, which sits directly below the EFL in the football pyramid, was given a funding package recently that meant they could kick off their season behind closed doors at the beginning of October.
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