Championship football clubs have chosen to take a £117.5m loan from US insurer MetLife instead of the Bank of England’s emergency Covid-19 support scheme.
The English Football League (EFL), which represents clubs in the second, third and fourth divisions, said it rejected the Bank of England loan due to the conditions imposed.
Teams in the Championship, which include Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, Watford and Derby County, have been starved of ticket income for the last year.
“This is a much welcome, timely package of support for Championship clubs, whose operations have continued to incur significant costs without generating anywhere near normal levels of revenue,” said EFL chair Rick Parry.
“The support will be pivotal to clubs being able to re-evaluate their financial position and help them start to plot their way out of the pandemic and plan with greater certainty for 2021-22 when we are hoping for the return of fans in large numbers.”
The EFL’s inability to reach agreement with the Bank of England due to conditions stipulated by the Treasury marks the latest breakdown in relations between football and the UK government.
While sports including rugby union, cricket and horse racing have been handed emergency funding, professional football has been left to fend for itself.
Dale Vince, the chairman of fourth-tier Forest Green Rovers, told City A.M. the government “seems to have a problem with football”.
Championship clubs will use the loan to meet their PAYE obligations for the rest of the current season.
The Premier League has agreed to meet interest payments on the debt of up to £15m a year.
The loan is from MetLife Investment Management, a subsidiary of the insurer, and followed “a competitive bidding process”, the EFL said.