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O'Neill: Government and Governing Bodies Need to Help Football Clubs
Tuesday, 17th Mar 2020 16:33

General manager of football operations Lee O’Neill admits the Blues are losing significant sums of money during the suspension of fixtures caused by the coronavirus pandemic and believes the Government and football's governing authorities need to look at helping out clubs financially.

Fixtures in the EFL and Premier League are currently postponed until April 3rd, however, with a lengthier hiatus all but certain.

“I don’t think we’re the only club, it’s every football club globally,” O’Neill said when asked about the financial hit the Blues are taking at present.

“I was just having a conversation this morning with some grassroots clubs and it’s going to affect them all because at the end of the day people coming into the stadium and watching football is large part of the revenue stream that clubs need to survive and operate.

“It will have an effect on every football club up and down the country. When football does resume, it’s important that we all get together to try and support that and make sure all clubs can continue to operate.”

O’Neill wouldn’t discuss precise numbers: “I don’t want to go through figures but it’s significant. We are obviously losing quite a lot of money.

“But, like I say, we’re not in isolation and it’s not just football. There’ll be restaurants, bars, theatres, all of those businesses will be taking big financial hits at this moment in time because of the virus and because people aren’t able to go out and socialise and spend their free time as much as they would like to in areas they would like to. It’s frustrating but it’s a necessity at the moment.”

There has been much talk of sime lower league clubs going under during the current crisis. Asked whether the Blues should be protected from the worst of the problems having owner Marcus Evans behind them, O’Neill said: “We’re very lucky to have an owner like Marcus Evans who has invested a lot of money into the football club.

“But it will be affecting him and his finances because of other businesses that he has in and around the world, as it would do for every owner up and down the Football League.

“It’s a tough time for football, it’s a tough time for the economy, it’s a tough time for everybody at the moment and people will lose jobs across the country because of this situation.

“You have to put a lot of things in perspective and, again, I don’t have the answers unfortunately to a lot of the questions that are going to be asked in the up and coming weeks until we’ve got some further guidance from the Government and from our governing bodies.

“Then we can then start planning a little bit more strategically about what that might look like for the end of this season and next.”

Should the Government help clubs out financially? “I think they’re going to have to look at a number of things, football being one of them, but general businesses and how they’ve operated [through the crisis].

“This whole situation, not many people could see it coming and it’s hit everyone really, really hard and it will hit the economy hard.

“It’s definitely an area that the Government and governing bodies need to help football clubs so that they can continue to operate.”

O’Neill says he and others at the club are in regular contact with Evans with meetings planned with the owner later this week.

“We’re in constant communication with Marcus,” he added. “As you know, he’s got a number of businesses all over the world that are all going through the same processes.

“He’s got lots of stuff to sort out at the moment but we are in regular communication, myself and a number of other people at the football club and we’ve got meetings scheduled, so we’ll be working very closely together to make sure that we can give people the answers as quickly as possible and communicate effectively during this time.”

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Radlett_blue added 17:01 - Mar 17
Professional football is an "industry" where an few people are grossly overpaid, especially at the top level. The government does NOT need to help football. There are many more important industries of national importance which any sane government will prioritise. The absurdity of football's finances was shown by the way Barnet FC has laid off ALL their staff (most of whom will not be well paid) but has to continue to pay the players while they kick their heels.

londontractorboy57 added 17:07 - Mar 17
Perhaps supporters might appreciate ME putting his own cash in to keep us afloat many clubs are going to go under let's hope it's not ITFC.
I doubt if there will be any football this side of Christmas.

ElephantintheRoom added 17:11 - Mar 17
Hmm Ipswich Town is owned by an offshore company that is registered offshore for tax avoidance purposes. If anything the club is one of the reasons that the country is so ill-prepared for something outside the norm.

northernblues added 17:20 - Mar 17
I think sky and UEFA should foot the bill!

Blue12345 added 18:41 - Mar 17
I would think sports teams would be way down on the list for government help at this time. And rightly so.


JaySwitch added 18:55 - Mar 17
There are far more important things than football for the government to be helping!!!

The Premier League should support the entire football pyramid at this time, it has the money to do so.

Bergholtblue added 19:19 - Mar 17
Londontractorboy..... I agree but with ME's business being centred on corporate entertainment at sporting events, all of which are now on hold, his whole business empire is under threat.

Time to worry?

BryanPlug added 19:20 - Mar 17
Perhaps the players could offer to take a pay cut or freeze until the league starts up again? Oh no how silly of me that would never happen.

Edmundo added 20:33 - Mar 17
Maybe the players could keep fit by running from house to house in Ipswich and other local areas delivering essentials to those in quarantine due to life-threatening illness or immune suppression.

londontractorboy57 added 20:33 - Mar 17
Bergholtblue agree In these very worrying times any thing could happen there will be firms going out of business that people would never believe could o bust the chickens are coming home to roost business built on debt will eventually collapse.

bluejacko added 20:40 - Mar 17
Simon Jordan this morning on talksport was having none of it! He was adamant that the league’s could get all clubs through this till the end of the season.
I can’t remember the facts and figures but he did explain it in great detail.

Doctor_Earman added 00:38 - Mar 18
''We’re very lucky to have an owner like Marcus Evans who has invested a lot of money into the football club.''

Get ready folks, this will be the go-to strapline whenever Evans is questioned from here on in - ''well, he did ''save us'' during the coronavirus outbreak'' etc.

r2d2 added 08:44 - Mar 18
Evans has his other businesses to worry about now. He never has prioritised the football club, so sure as hell wont now. It will probably suffer even more after all this. Some people on here will still kneel at his feet and praise him though.

bluerico added 09:36 - Mar 18
Just read that some PL clubs are arranging mobile gyms at players houses. Says it all really, talk about the haves and have nots.

dirtydingusmagee added 21:36 - Mar 18
The finances of football has been a bad smell for years and getting smellier year on year, the government owes those involved nothing . But i bet Evans would love a handout .

DoseOfReality added 13:12 - Mar 19
If there is one industry on this earth that does NOT deserve financial support form Government it is Football.

On a positive we might actually go bust and then ME can p!ss in the wind for his debt.

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