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Government must prevent collapse of football pyramid says senior MP

The Government has been warned that the country’s historic league structure is on the verge of collapse and help is desperately needed.

Damian Collins MP, former-chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, wrote to the secretary of state today urging his department to intervene in football’s current crisis.

In the letter Collins asks Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport minister Oliver Dowden to offer support similar to that seen in the arts and culture sector, which was given a £1.5bn bailout fund.

He writes: “Without any plans being made to rescue football clubs, many in the EFL and others in the National League as well, are now actively preparing to make all but essential staff redundant, cease playing, close down their youth academies and community foundations, and put their business into administration.”

The Government’s September restrictions to combat the rise in COVID-19 cases mean that Premier League, EFL and many non-league games will remain behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.

Clubs that rely most heavily on matchday income to survive are now at serious risk of going under, Collins says, and the Government must intervene.

“This could lead not only to the failure of many historic community clubs,” he said. “But the collapse of the national league structure that we have known for over one hundred years.

“There is still time to act, but not long left.”

The cross-party letter has been co-signed by nine other MPs, including Ian Mearns MP chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters, to which Collins is vice chair.

Industry figures, such as former-head of the FA Lord Triesman, have also co-signed the letter along with Football Supporters’ Association chair Malcolm Clarke.

“It cannot be the Premier League’s sole responsibility to sort out issues arising from government policy,” Collins says.

“The Government itself needs to take responsibility or many already-embattled towns – often in areas of the country which have suffered many hardships in recent decades – will lose their focal point.”

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