The Premier League has demonstrated its commitment to football outside the top flight by making a one off payment of one million pounds to the 68 member clubs of the Football Conference.
The payment has been made to soften the financial blow which clubs in the Football Conference, competing in the Blue Square Premier, North and South have suffered this season due to unfortunate economic circumstances and the collapse of Setanta.
The Conference was only two years into the five-year deal which was worth £2.5m, with Premier sides receiving a minimum of £70,000 per year with the North and South clubs getting £15,000.
Brian Lee, Chairman of the Conference, stated: “We are extremely grateful to the Premier League in demonstrating their support to our members at a time when our clubs are feeling the pinch not only at the loss of our TV contract but the decline of anticipated income due to the financial position generally.”
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said: “The Premier League clubs discussed the current financial difficulties facing their counterparts in the Conference and were happy to be in the position to help them out with some financial support.
“The Football Conference is clearly an integral part of the football pyramid as well as being extremely important to local fans and communities – it was absolutely the right thing to do at this time.”
The Title sponsors of the Football Conference – Blue Square – welcomed the cash injection from the Premier League by supporting the clubs who play in the Blue Square Premier, Blue Square North and Blue Square South.
Alan Alger, speaking on behalf of Blue Square, commented: “This is great news for the competition and our clubs. It is generous of the Premier League to recognise the importance of the football Pyramid. This helping hand extended to clubs is very welcome.
“It has been a difficult time especially with the loss of the TV deal; but Blue Square is 100% behind our sponsorship. The fantastic start to the current season has proved what a competitive and exciting league we are connected with. TV coverage of the matches is obviously a bonus, but we get so much more from our partnership.”
The Football Conference remain committed to securing a broadcast partner and assure their member clubs and all those who support them, that in addition to this gesture, it is in the long-term interests of the competition to showcase all that is good about football played at this level.