Football facing cash worries says Preston North End supremo Peter Ridsdale

Peter Ridsdale says finance will be a huge challenge for Football League clubs during the coronavirus shutdown.

By Dave Seddon
Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 5:00 am

With games suspended until the first weekend in April and in all likelihood beyond, there will be no income from ticket sales and sponsorship.

Not completing the season would be a disaster in the view of Ridsdale who is the advisor to Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings.

Ridsdale says Hemmings’ financial backing will keep PNE in good shape but others might not be so fortunate.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

PNE striker Sean Maguire isn’t obliged to go on international duty during the coronavirus outbreak

EFL and Premier League clubs have had games until April 4 postponed at this stage due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both bodies are due to meet this week to plan their next step.

Ridsdale told the Lancashire Post: “This is a massive financial issue. Clubs are already going to be deprived of income from the next few weeks, then it is a case of what happens after.

“The season has to be allowed to be played to a finish, it can’t just be stopped.

“Let’s says the season did finish now, what would the consequences of that be?

“We have four more home games and you’d have to refund a percentage of season ticket money.

“Then there’s lost ticket sales and loss of sponsorship.

“Sponsorship is sold on the basis of playing a full season so some money would have to be refunded.

“Potentially you could have games chosen for television which bring in extra money.

“So that would be more revenue which is lost.

“Clubs need to get together to tackle this and decide on what happens next.”

On the playing front, clubs have been told by FIFA that for the international break, which is scheduled to start next week, they are no longer obliged to release players for duty with their country.

Some internationals have been cancelled already and UEFA are set to make a call today on the Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs and the finals themselves.

Republic of Ireland are due to play Slovakia next week in a play-off and that would have potentially seen PNE pair Sean Maguire and Alan Browne named in the squad.

With FIFA calling for the games to be postponed, UEFA are set to do so today.

Ridsdale said: “FIFA have stated that it is now not a legal requirement to release players for international duty during this break.

“We have got Sean and Alan who are normally in the Irish squad and now we won’t have to release them.

“Obviously at times like this you don’t want players flying off around the world.

“We’ve told all our players that they can’t travel abroad during this suspension of the fixture list.”