Swiss government steps in with two-year $194m loan fund for clubs fighting for their lives

November 6 – The Swiss government has earmarked loans totalling CHF175 million ($194 million) per year 0 for 2020 and 2021 – for sports clubs in the country to enable them to survive the financial impact of the coronavirus.

The loans are expected to become available from December 1, and while they will be interest free they will come with a conditions that are currently being finalised.

“Sport is important for society, but also for the economy,” said sports minister Viola Amherd. She has been tasked with finalising the borrowing rules by November 15.

Once the loan conditions are finalised, she said the funds will be “made available quickly”.

“This is an important day for Swiss sport and especially for Swiss professional football. We have been waiting for a very long time for these loans to be drawn down. Now our clubs can finally have access to the money that will secure their liquidity in the short term. Some clubs will urgently need it,” said Claudius Schäfer, CEO of the Swiss Football League.

“The fact that the Federal Council is now considering A-fonds-perdu contributions is very welcome and confirms the relevance of professional sport in general. But we also understand that such a decision must first be seriously considered. We will be happy to provide information and answer questions. The existence of professional football is threatened by the loss of admission fees for several months.”

Swiss clubs are heavily reliant on gate revenues. Have opened up stadia, the second wave of the coronavirus has quickly closed them down again with just 50 spectators being allowed into sports venues.

The conditions surrounding the include their repayment over ten years. If clubs are unable to repay the money within three years, they must reduce wages by a maximum of one fifth.

Loans can cover up to a quarter of clubs’ operating expenses in the 2018/2019 season while the clubs must provide security collateral of 25% of the loan. The loan can only be use to guarantee the club’s participation in its current league.

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