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With thanks to the News & Star:
have received an advance of £164,000 from the EFL to help them cope with an extended period without games.
The sum was paid to the Blues on Thursday as part of the League’s £50m short-term relief fund to assist clubs during the coronavirus shutdown.
It is a payment United would normally have received over a three-month period, but they were able to access it early as part of efforts to steer clubs through a spell without regular income.
Chief executive Nigel Clibbens says the cash is welcome and “provides us with a little bit more of a cushion”.
As part of the League’s relief package, a £119,000 loan is also available but the Blues have not taken advantage of that yet. Such an amount would have to be repaid over three years.
Clibbens says the cash they have received this week will ease immediate cash-flow concerns, with games having been suspended until at least April 30 – including four United home fixtures.
But he conceded that further funding will be required should plans to resume the 2019/20 season eventually be scrapped.
Clibbens added: “In essence all of this means that we are now getting access to cash and receiving it earlier than we otherwise would have done, and that is a really big boost for a lot of clubs at our level.”
He has already said that United have a “cash cushion” from recent player sales and a change of financial approach at the club to help them in this period.
Of the League’s £50m package, he added: “The main element is an advance of existing funding that we were due to receive anyway and, therefore, is already planned in our cash-flows.
“The only significant difference is that it’s been brought forward in terms of when we receive it.
“This is money we were due to get in April, May and June, but it is now with us as a one-off advance, which in our case is £164,000. It provides us with a little bit more of a cushion now, but for many clubs it is an immediate and essential short-term lifeline.”
Clibbens says receiving money up front is welcome but said it would not remove the potential for further problems if the season cannot be restarted.
He said: “If we don’t get to play our remaining fixtures it means there is still no income.
“The problem then worsens because the future money has been taken earlier and spent. This leaves nothing in the future in the way of cash income, but we will have additional loan repayments to make.
“That’s potentially where the longer-term problem is, but right now the EFL has been able to buy everybody a bit of time.
“It helps clubs through, but my note of caution is that we’re receiving the money now that we should get later in the year, and we have to bear that in mind.
“The problem we then face is how we plug the next income gap that is still ahead of us, and the ideal solution for that is for our normal income flows to start up again. That obviously means a return to league action. If not, more funding will be required.”
He added that, if their remaining games of the 2019/20 season are not played, the EFL have also referred clubs to the Government’s coronavirus business interruption loan scheme.
“If we were to lose these games permanently, that’s income that’s lost to us forever, and we would still have a loan we’d taken out to pay back,” he added.
“The only way we’d be able to do that would be by generating new money quickly, or by cutting our costs for the 2020/21 season.
“The ramifications of these decisions and potential outcomes are once again wide-reaching and have longer-term implications. It’s not just a case of drawing from this pot of money with no problems to come later.”
On United’s wish to use funds from player sales to help them in these stages of football’s suspension, he said “only part of the fees” have so far been received, with more due in July and August.
“But that also depends on other clubs being able to pay us,” he added.