Several EFL clubs 'days away from going bust' amid wage dispute

Growing number of League One and League Two club owners believe 2019-2020 season should be cancelled

EFL 3:04
Senior officials at League One and Two clubs have told Sky Sports News teams could go bust if there is no agreement soon - particularly with regard to the issue of player wages

Senior officials at several League One and League Two clubs have warned the EFL must take drastic action to prevent them going bust amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In conversations with Sky Sports News, the officials have warned that clubs are just "days" away from "going to the wall" and say that the EFL are allowing them to "sleepwalk" into trouble.

The measures they have called for include the cancellation of the 2019-2020 season, with many believing there is no prospect of games being played in front of fans until 2021, meaning that the gate receipts they require to stay afloat won't be forthcoming.

They have described a 25 per cent player wage cut for April - proposed on Tuesday by the EFL and PFA - to be insufficient, suggesting that a figure in excess of 50 per cent will be required to keep clubs in business.

EFL headquarters in Preston, Lancashire 0:51
Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley fears the number of League One and League Two clubs lost to the coronavirus pandemic will be in double figures

One League One club chairman is considering cancelling all player contracts and "taking his chances in the courts". He believes this strategy has more chance of success than relying on agreement between the game's stakeholders to secure a financial salvage plan. He says "the future safety of my club must come first".

The warnings come after former FA chief executive and now owner of League One Tranmere, Mark Palios, suggested the next week was possibly "the most important in the EFL's 132-year history".

The EFL - along with the Premier League - was initially suspended on March 13, with the move having since been made indefinite as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt life in the UK.

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Another League One chairman said: "There is a nightmare about to happen in English football if people don't start making real decisions quickly.

"There are a lot of clubs who have lived hand to mouth, and now the hand has stopped feeding the mouth.

Mark Palios during the FA Cup Third Round match between Tranmere Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur at Prenton Park on January 4, 2019 in Birkenhead, United Kingdom. 1:02
Tranmere chairman Mark Palios says that players must share some of the financial 'pain' football is experiencing

"There are a number of clubs who have not received the award money which was promised a number of weeks ago, this is because they were already in wage disputes with players."

League One and League Two owners have now joined forces to lobby the EFL over their concerns over the lack of progress being made.

Palios told Sky Sports News on Tuesday that players had to "share" the financial pain football was suffering, and there appears to be a growing divide between owners and squad members over how the situation is being handled.

It is understood approximately 1,400 professional footballers are due to become free agents on June 30, with suitors for them potentially being few and far between in the current climate, but a League One chairman insists clubs must take precedence over individuals.

He says "the difference between non-playing staff and players in understanding the financial situation is stark," and says clubs are struggling to communicate to their squads how dire the forecast is.

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