English FA cuts 82 jobs as Covid-19 pandemic wipes out Wembley events


The English Football Association is set to make 82 people redundant as it faces a shortfall of 300 million pounds ($370 million) over four years due to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down the sport and restarting without fans in stadiums.

Wembley Stadium, which is owned by the FA, was due to be staging seven games at the European Championship including the semifinals and finals next month but the tournament was postponed by a year.

Other events, including concerts and two NFL regular season games, that were due to be staged at English soccer’s 90,000-capacity national stadium this year have also been called off.

“No one knows when a vaccine will be ready or when better medical treatments will be ready,” FA chairman Greg Clarke said on Monday. “So we have to plan for extended periods of social distancing which could limit crowds, could limit attendances and could limit the number of competitions played.”

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said the focus will be spending on the key mission — helping the men’s and women’s national teams win major tournaments.

“That means we have set out in our proposals some difficult choices because we do not think we can afford to do all the things that we did before,” he said.

Hospitality revenue, which can generate 35 million pounds a year, has “completely fallen away and will probably take years to recover,” Bullingham said. Compensation has also had to be paid for some of the canceled events, while the FA has been unable to fulfil some commitments to sponsors and broadcasters.

“Unfortunately the past few months have impacted the FA severely and we have lost a significant amount of money that we can never recoup,” Bullingham said Monday.

“The situation has worsened to a point where we now need to reduce the size of the FA in order to deal with the financial impact of the crisis.”

When Britain went into lockdown in March, the FA halted recruitment and 42 vacant positions will not be filled. Another 82 roles are being removed from the not-for-profit governing body.

Wembley will still be staging rescheduled lower-league playoff finals and the semifinals and final of the FA Cup in the coming weeks but there cannot be supporters in the venue due to efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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