Published: 11:00, 01 April 2020
| Updated: 11:36, 01 April 2020
Should the Premier League's elite come to the assistance of the leagues below?
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally wants those at the top end of the football pyramid to help those struggling in the lower leagues because of the coronavirus crisis.
Football hasn’t been played at Priestfield since February and if this season is completed it may only be able to do so behind closed doors.
And with government advisors suggesting we might not get back to normal life for six months, hope of football being played any time soon are remote.
It’s left the Gills and many others in trouble.
Speaking in The Mirror, Mr Scally added his voice to the growing argument that those making big money in the Premier League should share the wealth at this time.
He said: “There’s something not right about the wealth in the Premier League but this is doomsday, this is Armageddon.
“It will be a wake-up call. The Ferraris will be going, the Lamborghini too. Fans have had enough of it. Football is in a bubble and maybe it needs to burst.
“If it means wage cuts then that’s how it’s got to be.
“People will be more comfortable if football goes back to the real world. No-one wants to read about £100m transfers when people and society is struggling and it’s life and death.”
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is one of those to have called for Premier League managers and players to take pay cuts. The eighth richest club in the world, who have players on multi-million pound deals, have used the government’s emergency payment assistance scheme to finance wages of 550 non-playing staff.
Mr Scally has previously said that the 20 Premier League clubs could all chip in and make up a £50m pot to help those in the English Football League.
He has also suggested a £100m soft loan from “The state-owned fund that owns Manchester City."
The EFL have attempted to help by handing clubs their Basic Award payments early and offering interest-free loans as part of a £50m relief package but that only moves the problem further down the road.
The Gills have 300-odd staff on their books and they were due to be paid in full for March.
But Mr Scally has already said funds will run dry in a matter of months.
He said: “We have been able to defer our PAYE, as have most businesses, for this month (March) and that has helped us pay the salaries.
“Any deferment means you have still got to repay that at some future date and the income that we are losing now and what we have lost, we are not going to get that back.
"Our problem mainly is that not only have we lost our football income but we have lost all of our other income. Right now we have nil sources of income.”
Mr Scally is hopeful that the season can be resumed at some point, saying it would be “a disaster” to end it now and “the worst possible outcome.”
While the wait goes on, Mr Scally is trying to make what little money they have go as far as he can.
Clubs such as Dover Athletic have put their staff on furloughed leave, as many businesses have, admitting they have run out of money.
Maidstone United admit they may have to revert to evening training when they resume, effectively going part-time, as funds have dried up. They want the season ended now.
Mr Scally has previously said their club could defer salaries and “give everyone a sum of money they they can survive on.”
Speaking a fortnight ago, he said: “What is important is that people can feed their families, they can eat, they can put some fuel in their car so they can get out to the shops and they have a roof over their head. I think those are the most important commodities.
"Right now and we are in a war. This is like nothing we have ever experienced.”
The EFL are set to meet with the Premier League and the Professional Footballers' Association today (Wednesday) to discuss a collective wage deferral agreement.
Read more on the Gills;
More by this authorLuke Cawdell