Premier League clubs must donate funds to lower divisions: Bruce

(Reuters) - Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has said Premier League clubs must donate funds to teams in lower divisions or many will face collapse due to the financial pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Newcastle United v Sheffield United - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - June 21, 2020 Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Michael Regan/Pool via REUTERS

Bruce’s former side Wigan Athletic entered administration last week, becoming the first professional English club to do so in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Bruce, 59, said top flight clubs should each chip in at least £2 million ($2.51 million) to support English Football League teams.

“The world has practically collapsed in the past few months and I do feel the Premier League clubs must ... try and help support the Football League,” Bruce told reporters.

“If you speak to some of the smaller clubs, they’re in a desperate situation... From what I’m hearing from managers and chairmen, it’s on the verge of collapse. If we’re not careful I believe we could see the collapse of lots of teams.

“My blueprint ... would be to find a couple of million quid and put it to clubs who badly need it. A million or two ... in the Premier League these days seems to be nothing. In the lower leagues that would probably keep them all going for a season.”

Bruce, who began his playing career with Gillingham in the lower leagues, said it was vital to keep smaller clubs afloat.

“... Unfortunately in the last few years, we’ve seen clubs collapse and they’ve been going for a hundred years, some of these clubs,” he added.

“People in the lower divisions work tirelessly to keep their club going ... What happens to them if we don’t do something about this?”

Newcastle, who are 12th, visit second-placed Manchester City on Wednesday.

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Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford