English Football and National League Clubs’ fiscal health alarm
More than 10 English Football League and National League clubs could go bust after the return of fans in those divisions was scrapped, a leading football finance expert has warned.
Kieran Maguire, a lecturer in the subject at the University of Liverpool, made the grim forecast after publishing data showing every club in the Championship and all but two in the Premier League would have made operating losses in the season before last had they been deprived of match-day income. Data also showed all but seven sides in League One, five in League Two and three in the National League — many of which do not file detailed accounts — lost money in the same season.
Charlton, Wigan, Oldham and Southend have all previously been identified as being at risk of going to the wall, even before the coronavirus crisis struck, while Gillingham chairman Paul Scally on Tuesday warned his own club could do so by Christmas if supporters remained locked out of grounds.
Maguire said: “There is a danger of a trickle becoming far more than a trickle. Potentially, we could be hitting double figures. If you take a look at the worst years pre-financial fair play, we were seeing around 2003, 2004, seven, eight, nine clubs going into administration, partly on the back of ITV Digital’s collapse.
“What we are facing at present is a far greater hit to the professional sport sector. How can clubs in the National League survive if they can’t play matches in front of a paying audience when 60 per cent or more of their money comes through the turnstiles?...
“Charlton’s very worrying because there’s presently an injunction against the person that wants to buy the club and somebody else who wants to buy the club who has been rejected by the EFL,” he said.
The Daily Telegraph