Manchester United legend Gary Neville has called on Premier League and Championship clubs to help solve the financial crisis for those in Leagues One and Two by waving charges of loan players.
League Two voted to curtail their season last week due to the economical strain of completing the final matches behind closed doors, whilst there remains a huge split in League One.
Meanwhile, EFL chairman Rick Parry is predicting a bleak financial forecast for lower-league clubs that are dependent on matchday income.
One suggestion that has been mooted was the possibility of Premier League B teams, which Neville is against.
However, he has suggested that, as a middle-ground, Premier League and top-end Championship clubs could waive any loan fees, which would allow clubs in the League One and League Two to save hundreds of thousands of pounds every season to ease the financial burden.
“It’s been resisted previously (B teams) when those sort of ideas have been mentioned, I would personally resist it to maintain the pyramid that has promotion and relegation, it’s a been a fantastic thing for this country,” Neville told The Football Show.
“Whether you’re a supporter of Rochdale or Manchester United or Liverpool, you’re proud of your club and you’re proud they stand on their own two feet.
“Maybe there could be a happy medium, I heard it suggested at a meeting a few weeks ago. It would be very helpful if Premier League clubs and Championship clubs, who have got more money, could loan players down to League One and League Two for no money.
“The teams that do loan down to League One and League Two would ordinarily charge. I think if you wanted to relieve the economic pain for the next two or three years, you could potentially, not partnerships, but a way that Premier League and Championship could soften the economical blow for the clubs in the lower divisions by not charging for players.
That would be a real help. It would, in some way, if you could allow four or five players into, let’s say my club, hundreds of thousands of pounds. It would be the same for Stevenage or Oldham or Macclesfield or Wycombe and every other club that’s down in League One or League Two.
“Everyone would benefit. That’s what I’d say is a half-way house between losing the integrity of the lower-league clubs but sustaining how things are at this moment in time.”
Like most League Two clubs, Port Vale use loan signings to supplement their squad. They did that successfully this past season, recruiting Jake Taylor from Nottingham Forest and Mitch Clark from Leicester City.
Vale have taken more loan players in previous seasons but cut down on those numbers with success as manager John Askey went for a more tight-knit squad.