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Coronavirus Kent: Premier League clubs could help finance those in the English Football League says Gillingham chairman Paul Scally

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has suggested Premier League clubs could help finance the survival of those below.

In an interview with the Guardian he said a contribution of £2.5m from each of the 20 top-flight clubs could go into a fund for those in the English Football League (EFL).

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally believes Premier League clubs could help struggling teams in the EFL
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally believes Premier League clubs could help struggling teams in the EFL

That £50m could be used to help out those struggling to cope with the current football shutdown, which has deprived teams of much-needed matchday income.

The plight of the lower leagues was brought up in Parliament last week by Gillingham & Rainham MP Rehman Chishti, in an address to the Chancellor, who said there were a range of measures which have been implemented by Westminster in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The EFL have introduced a £50million short-term relief package to assist clubs struggling with the lack of income during the halt in proceedings.

Last week Mr Scally said the club could last two or three months, commenting that "after that, the cash we do have will run out and I don't have a solution past two or three months."

The EFL's relief package involved sending out Basic Award payments to clubs early, a figure of around £250,000, and offering them interest free loans of £183,000 to ease any cash-flow issues.

EFL chairman Rick Parry said this week that he wasn't in favour of a "begging-bowl culture."

Speaking to BBC Radio Five, he said: ""Rather than just looking for handouts, it's better to go with a self-help mentality, saying 'this is what we've done, this is the problem that we find ourselves in, so how can we all help to produce a better future?'

"I think it's much better, in dialogue with the Premier League, to talk about sustainable futures and how we might be able to have a reset going forward."

Gillingham employ around 300 staff and club offices are currently closed, with the playing staff at home training alone.

Mr Scally, who was reportedly closing in on US investment before the recent national lockdown, said: "I'm not begging, I'm just looking for those within our industry that could support us and could generally support clubs that are run properly and not just siphoning cash on stupid stuff, to make that gesture."

The Gills chairman believes football finances "are out of control" and before the current crisis he predicted there would be other clubs following in the same way of Bury, in going out of business.

He said: "I think it's D-day for the industry, a time of reckoning for football."

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