THE need for EFL clubs and those below them in English football's pyramid to receive support during the Covid-19 pandemic has been well documented.

Colchester United chairman and owner Robbie Cowling has been forthright in his desire to see clubs like his own get financial backing from the Premier League, after clubs were left devastated by the many implications of the virus.

In some cases, their very survival has been at stake.

Empty stadiums for a prolonged period of time last season meant clubs were faced with the very real threat of going out of business, with income streams hit hard.

It was bad enough games being played behind closed doors throughout almost the whole of last season.

And at the U's, it was not only the substantial loss of matchday revenue that hit them hard.


The absence of cash brought in by functions such as parties and their popular Comedy Nights and Tribute Nights, dinners, conferences and hospitality events that the club had so successfully run at the JobServe Community Stadium for many years, has also been hugely damaging.

Mr Cowling elected against deferring payments and tightened finances, towards the end of the 2019-20 season.

The U's supremo argued that the U's will be in a better shape than most once a degree of 'normality' - whatever that means - returned.

Just over 12 months ago, Mr Cowling made a public plea to the Premier League to step in and help lower league clubs who are financially struggling without crowds.

And back in May 2020, a few weeks after the pandemic had hit, the U's chairman said in a statement that he would like to see additional cash finds its way to EFL clubs and below.

"So the challenge for football is to find a workable solution that allows clubs to operate as financially sound organisations," he wrote in a statement.

"Ideally, more money will find its way down the football pyramid and measures will be introduced that will make clubs spend those funds sensibly and within their means.

"We have been trying to change the model at Colchester United for a number of years with our investments in the Academy and training ground and until this all happened, those strategies were leading us towards our best financial results since we were in the Championship."


It seems as though that has happened, going by the figures released by the Premier League.

In the past three seasons, before extra additional funding was recently announced, it has been revealed that Colchester have received more than £4m in funding from the Premier League.

Of that total £1.39m went to the club, £2.2m for the U's Academy and £441,000 to help the club's work in the community.

The Premier League's biggest contribution to EFL and National League clubs has been its academy contribution.

The Premier League has invested heavily in the academies across EFL clubs, helping to develop talented young players.

With the U's being a Category Two club in the Elite Player Performance Plan, and with chairman Cowling having ploughed substantial funds into the Florence Park youth set-up over the years, this is particularly crucial.


The £1.39m Colchester have received from the Premier League will go towards their core running costs.

It is vital for clubs' stability and accounts for an average of 24 per cent of League Two clubs' turnover.

And the £441,000 provided by the Premier League for the club's community aspects is also essential.

Premier League grants are invested into 110 clubs' community departments across the EFL and National League.

They included schemes like Premier League Primary Stars and Premier League Kicks, executed so well by the U's charity partner Colchester United Football in the Community in the past and also help clubs run their own locally-focused projects.

In addition to this, the Premier League has also provided other financial support to EFL clubs, including Covid rescue grants and funding and cash for the EFL Community Trust.

And they have recently announced addition an additional £20m funding package from the Premier League, to help continue their recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

League One and League Two clubs will benefit from a further £20 million from the Premier League in the 2021/22 season.

It has also pledged £5million to the 66 National League and National League North and South clubs between now and 2025.

It is part of a £100m package over the next four years, which the Premier League says will help support the National League system, develop the women's and girls' game, enhance community football facilities, support EFL clubs and back "projects that help the wider game."

The Premier League's extra funding will help EFL clubs like Colchester become financially sustainable businesses and maintaining their place at the heart of their communities.

We are not out of the woods yet and clubs like Colchester are still being hit hard by Covid-related restrictions.

Nevertheless, after a turbulent past 18 months or so due to the pandemic, the Premier League funding will come as a welcome boost to lower-league clubs like Colchester looking to survive, recover and prosper, in the years to come.