Former EPL manager Arsene Wenger urges league to help lower-league clubs financially
- Arsene Wenger, spent 22 years in charge of EPL side Arsenal before departing in 2018
- He agrees with former EPL defender Gary Neville, that the league should help to financially reinburse lower-league clubs
Former English Premier League (EPL) manager Arsene Wenger has supported Gary Neville's belief that the EPL should come up with a financial rescue package to help support lower-league clubs as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Wenger, 70, believes EPL sides have a responsibility to help clubs across the EFL, who will be severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and could 'die' after this period without sport and business revenue.
During a beIN Sports interview after Bayern's 2-0 Bundesliga win over Union Berlin this evening, Wenger was quizzed on the future of the game. On whether player wages should be reduced as a result of the pandemic, he was measured in his response.
"At least for a certain time, yes. I believe it gives us food for thought as well. With all the money we gain from the media, a part of the income - the Premier League or inside national leagues - should maybe be to create an emergency fund, in-case a disaster like that happens in the future again. So the league has enough funds to help other clubs."
On whether he feels clubs have budgeted well and have 'rainy-day' funds for extreme eventualities like the current pandemic, Wenger revealed he had that worry during his tenure at Arsenal.
EPL legend Wenger reveals contingency planning ideas
Ultimately, the Frenchman received criticism for his stringent financial measures but the current FIFA director of development has useful ideas going forward.
"I agree, maybe to limit the percentage of income going to players, but every situation is different. For the smaller clubs, media money will be a bigger percentage of wages compared with bigger teams, so they should be considered in a different way."
Given his reputation for being careful with money during his time in the EPL with Arsenal, he was also asked whether he'd have been able to cope if still managing the Gunners now.
"Yes, of course. Some clubs are less under threat than others because they managed [their money] in a more cautious way, let's not forget we [Arsenal] were limited by the banks - to not get over 50% of our turnover dedicated to wages, so were naturally limited because we built the [Emirates] Stadium."
Lastly, he was also questioned about whether EPL clubs have a moral obligation to help the lower clubs currently struggling:
"Of course, the solidarity is needed. You know in England, you have 92 professional clubs: 20 EPL clubs and out of 72 others, 65 of them are in different financial positions so something needs to be done or too many clubs will die after this period."
You can watch Wenger's interview here:
Wenger's word carries a lot of weight and given the unity of EPL players in their #PlayersTogether project last month, it's likely that they'll do something similar to help lower-league clubs - especially as a lot of them have ties lower down the footballing pyramid.
Alongside his rival Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Wenger was renowned for revolutionising the EPL and proved himself as one of the world's best managers during his long-standing reign.
Liverpool were just six points from clinching their first EPL title since 1990, when sports were suspended indefinitely worldwide in March.