Coronavirus: FA announce job, budget cuts to cover £300m black hole

The Football Association (FA) has announced it is cutting 124 roles as chairman Greg Clarke warned of the "immense" impact caused by the coronavirus creating a £300 million black hole in the organisation's finances.

Competitive matches may have resumed in England following a three-month hiatus due to the pandemic but the continuing absence of supporters has hit the not-for-profit FA particularly hard.

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The FA Cup semifinals are due to take place next month with the final on Aug. 1, but the three matches will be played behind closed doors instead of attracting almost 90,000 fans in attendance.

Wembley was due to host two England friendlies in March, against Italy and Denmark, several matches at Euro 2020 -- including the final -- and stage a series of concerts including Westlife and Eagles.

As a result, the FA will cut 82 jobs with a further 42 vacant rules "taken out of the structure" as it looks to make a £75m annual saving four each of the next four years.

"The effect of COVID-19 on the FA has been immense," Clarke said. "We've lost games, competitions, revenues, crowds. The hit already from lost games of football, lost pop concerts, lost NFL games, is large.

"We've already lost that money and there is no way we can recover it. We need to save £75m a year and we have got a £300m potential hole to fill over the next four years. So, we have that challenge facing us and our job is to step up like the rest of the world and plan for that future. That requires us to bring financial stability back to the FA, to make sure we can fulfil our core mission of football.

"We distribute all of our profits because we are a not-for-profit organisation. Every penny of the surplus goes out to football in England which means we don't have big reserves.

"So when there's a significant downturn caused by things like COVID-19, we have to respond to that and the proposals are there to respond to that financial challenge caused by the pandemic. But we will continue to prioritise growing the game of football for all our stakeholders."

Compensation owing from cancelled events has contributed to the FA's financial difficulties with the organisation fearing it will take several years to recover.

Chief executive Mark Bullingham said: "We do not think that it would be right to wait and see if the next few months bring greater certainty.

"The reality we are faced with is that no one knows the future and I believe that the money we have already lost, combined with the uncertainty of the coming months, means that we need to consider these proposals to avoid making matters worse in time.

"Going through this process now, as difficult as it is for all of us, means that in our worst-case scenarios we should still be able to overcome them and not need to repeat this exercise next year.

"The next few weeks will be very tough for everyone at The FA and our aim is to ensure that we emerge in the strongest possible state and be ready for better times in the future."

Meanwhile, the Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and Professional Footballers' Association announced the launch of a new scheme to increase the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) players transitioning into full-time coaching roles.

The scheme will provide up to six coaches each season with a 23-month intensive work placement within EFL clubs and the first intake will take place at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

"It is vital that there are no barriers to entry to the pipelines for employment in coaching," Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said in a statement. "We need more BAME coaches entering the system to create greater opportunities throughout the professional game.

"This new programme has been developed through collaboration and consultation with our colleagues across football. We have taken what we have learned from running the Premier League Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme and applied that experience to develop this framework."