The English Football League have branded the Government’s decision not to allow fans back into stadiums “frustrating and perplexing”.
Coventry City, along with their EFL and Premier League counterparts, continue to play matches behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Plans to let some supporters back into grounds at the start of October were shelved following an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.
However, there have been calls to allow clubs to fill their stadiums at a reduced capacity, to allow for social distancing to be observed.
Some venues, such as cinemas and theatres, have been able to host events with audiences.
And the EFL believe the current rules are inconsistent.
The League has issued a statement, which reads: “Our members, who contribute almost £500m annually to the exchequer, has had its core income stream of ticket sales turned off indefinitely without any indication of a roadmap that will allow the safe return of supporters to stadiums, despite other sectors being able to welcome people through their doors.
“They are also continuing to meet their financial obligations in the absence of similar levels of support being afforded to other industries.
“The inconsistency is frustrating and perplexing.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said last month he “accepted people’s frustrations at the inconsistency” but defended the current regulations.
Meanwhile, the EFL also commented on reports the Government is considering banning betting companies from sponsoring the front of football shirts.
The statement continued: “The EFL continues to have an open and regular dialogue with all relevant stakeholders – including the Government – regarding football’s ongoing relationship with the gambling industry to ensure its partnerships are activated in a responsible fashion.
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“The association between football and the gambling sector is long-standing, with a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms of much greater benefit than that of a blanket ban of any kind.
“Through a highly visible awareness and education campaign, the EFL and Sky Bet work together to promote responsible gambling, with players from all three divisions wearing sleeve badges to encourage supporters to consider how they gamble and 70 percent of the sponsor’s matchday inventory dedicated to safer gambling messaging.
“With over £40m a season paid by the sector to the League and its clubs, the significant contribution betting companies make to the ongoing financial sustainability of professional football at all levels is as important now as it has ever been, particularly given the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which is leaving many of our clubs living on a financial knife edge.
“Our approach in respect of gambling sponsorship is under constant review and the League will also contribute to any call for evidence by the Government as we seek to protect an important and vital income stream for our membership in a time of financial crisis.”
Betting companies currently sponsor 17 of the 24 teams in the Championship, while the EFL’s three divisions are sponsored by Sky Bet.