(Reuters) - The English Football League (EFL) said on Monday it has secured a 117.5 million pounds ($161.73 million) loan from MetLife Investment Management to help Championship clubs who have lost income from gate receipts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second division has now played the equivalent of a full season behind closed doors with spectators yet to return to stadiums and the EFL said they have lost approximately 150 million pounds in income as a result.
The loan was agreed with MetLife after a bidding process and the EFL said the size of the loan matched the amount requested by Championship clubs.
"This is... a much welcome, timely package of support for Championship clubs, whose operations have continued to incur significant costs without generating anywhere near normal levels of revenue," EFL chair Rick Parry said in a statement.
"The support will be pivotal to clubs being able to re-evaluate their financial position and help them start to plot their way out of the pandemic and plan with greater certainty for 2021-22 when we are hoping for the return of fans in large numbers."
In December, the top tier Premier League reached an agreement with the EFL to provide a 250 million pounds bailout package for lower division clubs struggling financially.
The Championship received an interest-free 200 million pounds loan while third-tier League One and fourth tier League Two clubs were awarded a 50 million pounds grant.
($1 = 0.7265 pounds)
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Pritha Sarkar)