Fleetwood Town chief calls for urgent action as government tells football bodies to stop 'squabbling' over financial aid

Fleetwood Town chief executive Steve Curwood took his case from Highbury to Westminster this weekFleetwood Town chief executive Steve Curwood took his case from Highbury to Westminster this week
Fleetwood Town chief executive Steve Curwood took his case from Highbury to Westminster this week
The government has urged football authorities to stop “squabbling” and agree a rescue package to prevent clubs going out of business in the pandemic, though Fleetwood Town chief executive  Steve Curwood has again called on the Department for Culture Media and Sport to take decisive action itself to avoid “killing” clubs.
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Curwood was at Westminster this week for a SaveOurClubs campaign event, speaking to MPs and media.

He told the BBC: “The government need to stop posturing and thinking the Premier League are going to sort this out.

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“This is a hot potato which has been thrown from government to the Premier League and no-one is doing anything.

“Yes, the Premier League may find a way to support us. Why wait for a seeming big brother to bail us out?

“The government need to do it themselves or these clubs will be lost, and (Culture Secretary) Oliver Dowden’s history and legacy will be killing some of the biggest institutions or names we know that have been going for over a century in this country.”

Three weeks ago, the EFL rejected the Premier League’s £50m package for Leagues One and Two, made up of grants and interest-free loans.

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The EFL said that offer “fell some way short” of what was required, and that any rescue package had to include clubs in the Championship as well.

Julian Knight, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, told the Commons that 10 to 15 lower-rung clubs could collapse due to financial pressures.

He said: “Would the minister join me in urging football bodies to follow the example of other sports to finally put the squabbling aside and to come to a proper deal for the good of the game?”

Responding during DCMS questions, Dowden said: “I agree with him 100 per cent. I am of course very disappointed in the current situation and the inability of football to come to that agreement.

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“It is the case there is already £50m on the table for League One and League Two clubs to stop them falling into financial difficulty, which is a good start.

“I know that further discussions are taking place and indeed my honourable friend the minister for sport met again with both bodies – the Premier League and the EFL – this week to reiterate the need to reach an agreement in the interest of all fans.”

It has been reported that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and EFL chairman Rick Parry have been called before a parliamentary committee in a bid to find a solution.

Curwood added: “We have been waiting for seven months for something to happen to save historical cultural institutions that our clubs are.

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“(Dowden) has got to help football clubs who are running out of steam. He needs to speak to HM Treasury and ensure our clubs are supported.

“Why should institutions like the Royal Ballet, the Opera House and the Globe Theatre receive funding and bail-outs when we are not?”