Premier League clubs are to receive an advance on prize money and media payments to help ease cashflow problems during the coronavirus crisis.
Since the suspension of competitive football nearly four weeks ago, clubs at all levels of the football pyramid have been confronted with a sudden and dramatic decline in revenue. The news that top-flight clubs are to receive a share of merit payments before the end of the season indicates even the biggest sides are facing financial pressures.
Prize money from the Premier League is broken down into tranches, including money based on final league position and the number of times each club appears on live TV. The league has brought forward some of that money, which would normally be paid in May.
The merit payments are to be based on the table as it stands. Facility fees will also be paid, based on a calculation as to likely TV appearances were the season to have continued.
A similar advance, in solidarity payments, was agreed with the EFL last week after an extraordinary meeting of Premier League shareholders. But it is understood the advance in merit payments is only a percentage of what clubs could otherwise expect to receive, given the possibility of compensation being owed to broadcast companies should the season be voided.
The Premier League has had discussions with its broadcast partners, Sky and BT Sport, over possible outcomes depending on how the season is resolved. In the meantime broadcasters are being granted greater access to players and coaches to help fill the void left in schedules by the absence of live sport.
Meanwhile negotiations between top-flight clubs and their players over possible wage deferrals or reductions are continuing. The Premier League had hoped for a common agreement, but discussions are now taking place on an individual club level with Southampton becoming the first to agree measures on Thursday, after players accepted a 10% deferral on their pay.