English Football League matches suspended: who's saying what?

London (AFP) –


The suspension of English Football League games till April 4 due to the new coronavirus pandemic was announced on Friday.

While the English Premier League clubs should be able to weather the financial cost, the situation outside the elite is far from certain.

There have been 596 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, with ten deaths announced, but health officials fear there could actually be between 5,000 to 10,000 infected people.

Here AFP Sport picks out some of the reaction from those in second-tier Championship to the fourth-tier League Two:


-- Peter Coates, the chairman of Stoke City, told the BBC he had expected the suspension but fears some clubs finances could run dry.

"I'm disappointed but there was a kind of inevitability about it.

"I don't think the financial implications will hit the Premier League hard because their income comes from media and broadcasting, so they have a cushion against this.

"For the rest of football, it's quite different as they rely on gate receipts and commercial activities, with a very small part coming from the media.

"This will have serious financial implications, with some clubs possibly running out of money."

-- Gary Sweet, Luton Town chief executive, told talkSPORT Radio he wants the Premier League to help out those in the lower leagues.

"It will hit us hard financially but a longer suspension is almost impossible. There is only one way distribution can happen and that's from top to bottom.

"The Euros just cannot go ahead."

-- Trevor Birch, chairman of Swansea, focused more on the situation outside football.

"The decision to postpone fixtures was inevitable and totally understandable for what is an unprecedented and dynamically developing situation.

"We all hope we can get back to normal as soon as possible, but the priority at the moment is for everyone to follow the health advice available and stay safe."

League One

Brian Caldwell, Shrewsbury Town chief executive, told the BBC the financial fall-out could be ruinous for some clubs.

"We've got five home games left, you are probably looking at £200,000-£250,000 ($250,000-313,000) would be lost by not having the income from not just tickets but bars, hospitality, programming income and everything else that we at this level all rely on.

"It could have a devastating effect on some clubs potentially having that loss of income."

Darragh MacAnthony, owner of Peterborough United, told talkSPORT he wanted all of football to rally round and help out financially.

"There is going to be financial shortfalls for many clubs, cashflow issues.

"I would guess-timate the average League One and Two club is probably going to need a loan of £300,000 to £400,000 each.

"There's enough money in football. We need to come together and make sure nobody goes under because of this virus."