Soccer

EFL willing to strike £125m bailout compromise with Premier League

EFL chairman Rick Parry is willing to strike a compromise with the Premier League and accept a reduced bailout package of £125m for his stricken clubs.

Parry looks poised to blink first in the standoff with Premier League bosses over how much financial help is provided to lower league clubs to save them from going bankrupt in the wake of Covid-19.

The EFL will hold a board meeting on Thursday, when Parry will tell members that 50 per cent of the original £250m he had been demanding will be the best clubs can now hope for.

An EFL source said: "Rick Parry is now convinced the bailout package will not be as much as what he wanted. It is about damage limitation and around £125m will be the most put on the table."

The move will represent a remarkable climbdown from Parry, who has been locked in negotiations with Premier League chief executive Richard Masters for the last seven months.

The Premier League have offered League One and Two clubs a £50m package that includes a £30m loan, which has been rejected.

But Parry knows he is running out of time to thrash out a rescue deal, with clubs hurtling towards financial ruin due to the ongoing ban on supporters attending games because of the pandemic.

Parry and Masters were both left red faced this week when they appeared before a Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee hearing into the current state of the game.

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Chairman Julian Knight berated the pair, labelling the £50m offer "pitiful" and ordered both organisations to strike a deal as soon as possible.

Knight described the current negotiations as a "farce" and put football's rulers on report – insisting he wanted weekly updates on how negotiations were progressing.

Masters has made it clear top flight clubs are also suffering huge losses because of the pandemic – and that there would be no "blank cheque" to underwrite all of them.

But it is understood Masters is keen to reach an agreement with the EFL and is confident £125m will be a suitable compromise for all parties.

Parry has been hammered for attempting to set-out a £250m rescue deal with the 'Big Six' as part of 'Project Big Picture' – but remains confident certain aspects of the plan to overhaul English football will work and can be introduced to the sport as soon as March.

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