Home Sports Brighton chief sends Premier League warning over helping lower-league clubs

Brighton chief sends Premier League warning over helping lower-league clubs

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Premier League clubs have to ensure their own survival before helping smaller teams, the Brighton chief executive has warned.

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has urged every top-flight club to donate £2.5m to create at £50m fighting fund to save EFL clubs.

But Paul Barber said it is “complete guesswork” to say when football will re-start and turn back on revenue streams for Premier League clubs.

Brighton lost £21.2m in their last published accounts for 2018/19 despite broadcast income of £113.5m and matchday income of £18.5m. Player costs climbed to £108m.

And the Albion boss said: “We’re all suffering at the moment, Premier League clubs as well. First of all we’ve got to safeguard our jobs for our people.



Paul Barber says top-flight clubs need to look out for themselves first
Paul Barber says top-flight clubs need to look out for themselves first

“That’s not just in the football club, that’s in our charity, Albion in the Community, as well.

“The second thing was to try and make sure the matchday workers were looked after and we’ve achieved that.

“We’ve got to pay our bills and then, if we can, provide help for clubs further down the football family.



A Brighton player has tested positive for coronavirus
A Brighton player has tested positive for coronavirus

“Obviously it would be a good thing at a very, very difficult time. The last thing anyone wants is for any Football League club to go out of existence.

“We certainly do have a lot of care, but also have to focus at the moment on our own business.

“Overnight almost every club in the country has seen its income simply disappear, but it’s cost base largely stay the same.

“We’ve got to stabilise our own business, make sure we can get through the next weeks, months, however long it is before we can get playing football again.



Seagulls' boss Graham Potter is self-isolating after his wife became ill
Seagulls’ boss Graham Potter is self-isolating after his wife became ill

“Of course, if we can help others we certainly will.”

Barber, whose club will donate future tickets to NHS workers, added: “We’re trying not to ask for wage reductions or look at wage reductions.

“Obviously at some point if we’re looking at a very long period of not playing and therefore no income then we have to look at every option.”

Premier League clubs last week “unanimously” agreed to suspend matches until at least April 30.

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The next meeting is scheduled for April 3 but Barber said: “People’s health must come first. As much as we all miss football and love football and we would all love to be playing football again soon, we have also got to be realistic about what is going on across the country and the world at the moment.”

One un-named Brighton player has tested positive for COVID-19 while manager Graham Potter is self-isolating with his family after his wife Rachel showed “flu-like symptoms” last week.

“She’s fine, she’s good now, no problems,” he said. “I was on my own with our three young children so there is a big appreciation of the role that teachers play.”



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