COLCHESTER United chairman Robbie Cowling feels the Premier League should step in and come to the aid of EFL clubs who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The U's supremo, who last month wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson following the scrapping of plans to allow fans back into stadiums, has been speaking about the strain the pandemic is having, with paying supporters unable to return.

Speaking to the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme on Sky News today, Cowling said financial support should be provided by top-flight clubs, to help those further down the pyramid.

Cowling said: "Does the Premier League need to step in? Without a doubt.

"They're on top of a pyramid, which is a really proud thing we should have in our game.

"It goes all the way down to non-league as well.

"Ollie Watkins scored a hat-trick at the weekend and he was playing against Colchester a few seasons ago, when he was at Exeter.

"Harry Maguire, the captain of England, I remember him at Sheffield United playing against Colchester.

"You could probably go through most of the England team and most of the Premiership teams and all of their players have come from grassroots - they've all played under-nine and under-tens football somewhere.

"The Premier League seems to think that we suck from it but that's not the case.

"It sucks from the rest of the pyramid system so they really should step in and do something.

"If they think they're enjoying this penthouse view and not in danger from the building that's crumbling beneath them, they're absolutely mad."

Colchester had made a number of changes to their JobServe Community Stadium in readiness for fans' return, prior to the Government's decision to not allow supporters back from October 1.

Along with removing 1,800 seats to ensure fans did not have to brush past one another and provide additional space within the stadium, the U's also revamped their ticketing system.

"It was very, very frustrating because it didn't seem to make sense, when I looked at things I could do and then what I wasn't going to be able to do," added Cowling.

"I could get on an aeroplane, go to the cinema or go in the pub but I couldn't go and sit in an indoor stadium and watch a game of football, where all these measures are taken to try and make it safe.

"It didn't seem correct and I didn't understand at all.

"We understood that we could keep people socially distanced by putting gaps between bubbles and also sitting them in every other row.

"The concern was how someone could get up in the middle of a game to go to the toilet or maybe get a drink, without brushing past people.

"So we made gaps in the seats so someone has separate ways to exit without brushing past anybody else.

"A club like Colchester is massively important to the local community, not just to the people who support Colchester United.

"People come here to give blood, get married, people come here and have wakes.

"It's a community stadium and more people come here for non-footballing events - it's a hub.

"We decided at the very start of lockdown that we wanted to be part of the solution so we got in touch with all of the authorities and said we've got a stadium here; if you want to come and use it, do so.

"We don't want any money for it and we're not the only club that does that; every football club I know in that way has done something to be part of the solution.

"Our community boys have been brilliant delivering parcels and our players have been ringing pensioners and the vulnerable.

"I feel we've done our part - but we need a bit of help, too."