Coronavirus: EFL clubs feel 'abandoned' after exclusion from emergency funding, says Coventry City CEO Dave Boddy

Dave Boddy (left) helped celebrate Coventry's promotion back to English football's second tier with Sky Blues manager Mark Robins in June
Dave Boddy (left) helped celebrate Coventry's promotion back to English football's second tier with Sky Blues manager Mark Robins in June

EFL clubs have been "abandoned" by their exclusion from £300m of emergency government funding for sports in England impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, says Coventry CEO Dave Boddy.

None of England's top 92 clubs were included in the bailout announced by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

"The government is not doing everything that it can," said Boddy.

Dowden said he was hopeful the Premier League and EFL would reach agreement over a bailout next week.

EFL clubs have "agreed in principle" a £50m rescue package for clubs in League One and Two, having initially rejected the offer in October.

"There has very good progress in the discussions I've had with the Premier League," Dowden told BBC Sport.

However, Boddy believes the government should be doing more.

"When football is in need, it is being abandoned by the government," Boddy told the club website.external-link

"Instead [it] is putting its head in the sand and hoping for the Premier League to provide the support for the EFL clubs instead.

"Coventry City believes this is wrong, and the government should treat football as it is treating other sports.

"The government announced details of its Sports Winter Survival Package but has again failed to provide a financial lifeline for EFL clubs."

Coventry, back in the Championship this season for the first time in eight years, are currently spending a second season away from the Ricoh Arena playing their home games behind closed doors in Birmingham at St Andrew's.

'The government is putting the national sport at severe risk'

Coventry are currently spending a second season away from the Ricoh Arena (above) to play their home games in Birmingham at St Andrew's
Coventry are currently spending a second season away from the Ricoh Arena (above) to play their home games in Birmingham at St Andrew's

Boddy worked for the National League and for both Newport County and non-league Worcester City before joining Coventry in 2017.

He argues that while the Premier League is well financed, English football's other higher echelons need help too.

The government's package includes £28m for football. But it will all be allocated to clubs in the non-league pyramid and the top two tiers of women's football:

  • £11m for clubs in steps 1-2 in the National League.
  • £14m for clubs in steps 3-6.
  • £3m for clubs in the Women's Super League and the FA Women's Championship.

"The government is providing support for 11 sports, all of whom rely on gate receipts," said Boddy, "including Premiership rugby union, rugby league and horse racing.

"But yet again it is washing its hands of the crisis that is engulfing the EFL - instead trying to pass the buck to the Premier League.

"In no other sport is the top flight being expected to provide financial support for lower tiers by the government. No other sport has the impact on and off the field of football.

"Outside sport, but still in the remit of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a huge £1.56bn package was provided for the arts.

"At no stage did the government ask larger organisations to support the smaller ones, but instead wrote the cheque to support an important industry.

"We believe that the government is now putting the national sport at severe risk."

However, Dowden pointed towards top-flight clubs spending £1.2bn in the summer transfer window as a reason why Premier League and EFL clubs were not among the beneficiaries.

He said: "It's not my money I am spending, it is taxpayers' money. Can I look taxpayers in the eye and say 'you should be paying for EFL and Premier League clubs that are in trouble', when there are the resources in the game?"

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