Carlisle United’s chief executive has given fans an upfront assessment of the club’s finances, as the Blues take stock of the scale of the challenge ahead, brought on by Covid-19.

Nigel Clibbens has outlined how, like many of the country’s football clubs, Carlisle United now faces financial pressure as a result of the disruption caused by coronavirus.

New proposed English Football League (EFL) rules capping the spending of League Two teams would mean a cut in United’s spending of up to 20 per cent next season, compared to its normal outgoings.

However, Mr Clibbens has confirmed that the club is predicting it will not have the income next season to reach that proposed new spending limit.

“Based on current information, our income in 20/21 due to Covid-19 is likely to mean we won’t have the cash to spend to reach the likely new cap next season,” he said.

A cap on spending across League Two, which would include on players’ salaries, is a move Mr Clibbens supports, but one he says will not be a cure-all for the challenges facing clubs across England going into the coming season.

“These changes will not prevent losses or club insolvencies, or stop clubs being unable to pay players,” he said.

“It will not prevent clubs overspending.

“However, it will reduce the losses, financial risk and improve the viability and sustainability of clubs to reduce their fragility.

“This may in time attract new investors into the game, make fan ownership more viable and reduce the reliance of clubs on benefactors. All that has to be welcomed.”

Mr Clibbens added that the priority for United is to “protect the club in the short term”.

He said this includes making sure to “conserve our cash and take few risks as we take actions which mean we are well placed to recover”.

“While many critical things which will affect us remain to be decided, the longer we can wait to make decisions which could have lasting adverse effects on the club, the better," he continued.

“However, in doing so, we have to balance the costs of waiting against the benefits of acting now. Not easy.”

Mr Clibbens thanked fans for their continued support and understanding, in particular season ticket holders, most of whom donated the refund they were eligible for back to the club.

“If all fans who were eligible for a refund had taken cash or credit, the financial impact could have been as much as a £75,000 cash payment,” he said.

“Seventy five per cent of fans who have replied have donated their refunds back to the club. That generosity is tremendous.”