Rochdale chief executive worries for future of English football with no financial help

Bottomley: "Why can't we have 2,000 people in a ground?...You're better off in this environment than you are in a pub or a restaurant."

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The staff at Rochdale explain the finanical difficulties their club, like many others, are experiencing due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic

Rochdale chief executive David Bottomley is concerned that if clubs do not recieve any financial help, the entire English football pyramid could disappear.

The League One side, like many others the Football League, are struggling financially with no matchday income and the costs that come with hosting behind-closed-door matches.

Bottomley has confirmed to staff that there will be no redundancies but worries, not just for his club, but the entirety of English football if they don't receive any help.

Brian Barry-Murphy's side are currently 23rd in League One
Image: Brian Barry-Murphy's side are currently 23rd in League One

"It costs a lot of money to put a behind-closed-doors game on, because we've got our same matchday safety officer costs, stewarding costs, the medical costs that come with having a team doctor and a crowd doctor - those still remain in place," he said.

"It's not as if you're cutting down. You've got more costs, but none of the revenue.

"If we don't get revenue, a bailout package or a loan package, not only Rochdale football club but, in my opinion, the pyramid of football in the UK will disappear," he added.

Last week, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said that the UK government is confident the Premier League will play its part in helping lower-tier clubs survive the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Speaking in Parliament, Huddleston said it was "vitally important" that big-spending clubs accepted their responsibilities.

"We expect and we require them to help further down the pyramid," he said.

"I have to say, that is exactly what the Premier League do seem to understand and I am confident that they will play their part and that we will have an announcement very soon."

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Highlights of the Sky Bet League One match between Ipswich and Rochdale

Staff at Rochdale say that months of work went into forming a safe seating plan for the return of fans, which was expected to commence from October 1, but has been put on hold by the government due to a spike in coronavirus infections.

Bottomley expressed his confusion at the decision to pause the plans, especially as people are being allowed in pubs and restaurants.

He said: "Why can't we have 2,000 people in a ground that's licensed to have 10,000, of which three sides are seating? Why can't we have perfect social distancing? Because we can. You're better off in this environment than you are in a pub or a restaurant."

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