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English football on verge of civil war?

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Dan Roan | 08:31 UK time, Friday, 30 April 2010

The Football League's dramatic refusal to sanction the Premier League's £400m funding offer has left the Premier League very angry indeed.

While a senior Football League official told me it was merely the start of a negotiation process, the Premier League has other ideas.

"We're in no rush," said an unnamed Football League club chairman as he and 71 others headed away from the Walkers Stadium's Great Hall after the emergency meeting at Leicester City's ground. "Why should we just accept what the Premier League tell us we should take? We need time to go away and discuss this."

But they don't have time. Because the Premier League is playing hard-ball and has set a deadline of the third week in May. It says it needs to have its spending plans in place before the AGM in early June and says it is a take-it-or-leave-it offer.

Premier League has offered £400m to Football League after lucrative television deals Premier League has offered £400m to Football League after securing lucrative television deals

The package included an increase in parachute payments, which is the monies handed to relegated clubs to soften the financial shock of the drop. Under the new deal this would more than double from £22m over two years to a massive £48m over four years.

Some Premier League clubs thought the package was too generous anyway - so there was widespread dismay that it wasn't snapped up gratefully.

As far as they are concerned the Football League can "take it or leave it". If it chooses to leave it then the parachute payments will remain at the current level (£22m over two years) but solidarity payments from the richest league in the world would cease. And that would be of huge significance.

Take a League Two club for instance. For the last three years it has received on average £72,000 a season from Premier League solidarity payments.

Under the Premier League's new three-year plan, starting from next season, they would receive a bumper £250,000 a season. Some may describe that as generous on the part of the top-flight, which is under no official obligation to give away anything to the lower leagues.

Others would say it only amounts to what some top Premier League players earn in less than two weeks!

But imagine how crucial that money could be to a club with an average gate of 4000.

League Two clubs receive only £430,000 a season from their own league's broadcasting deal with the BBC and Sky. Premier League clubs on the other hand get an average £40m a season.

In League One there's even more at stake. At the moment clubs in the division get about £108,000 a season from the Premier League. Now the Premier League is offering to increase that to £325,000 a year.

So why are clubs in Leagues One and Two jeopardising such vital funds?

What's clear is that a new fault-line has appeared in the English game between the Championship (23 out of 24 were in favour of the deal I'm told) and the 48 clubs in the lower two leagues (where there was unanimous opposition).

Most of the clubs in the Championship have spent time in the top-flight in the last 18 years, so there is a natural overlap between the two leagues.

Three years ago when the Premier League offered solidarity payments for the first time, the Football League simply accepted them, just grateful for the charity. So why now does the professional game stand on the brink of civil war?

Since its recovery from the ITV Digital fiasco, the Football League has forged an identity, and is proud of negotiating its current lucrative broadcasting deal, the first year of which has seen impressive audiences.

Therefore there is some unease at the strings the Premier League has attached to its offer, which largely constitute a 'standardisation' of the rulebook that governs the two leagues. This is seen in some cases as an encroachment on the 'sovereignty' of the Football League, and is being resisted.

But of far greater concern is the doubling of parachute payments to clubs relegated from the Premier League. As new Football League chairman Greg Clarke suggested on Thursday, many clubs fear this injection of cash to 'ex-Premier League clubs' could make it almost impossible in the future for a club like Blackpool, who have not benefited from such parachutes, to launch themselves into the top-flight.

Those lucky enough to be in the top two divisions now would in time secure their dominance. And those unfortunate enough to be outside of the club at this point in time would be effectively locked out.

The Football League now has three weeks to reconvene 72 chairmen in one place at one time yet again in order to vote on the proposals.

If they approve the plan, this will go down as a small and symbolic rebellion that was quickly snuffed out.

But if Clarke cannot secure an agreement among his highly disparate gang, then the English game will be on the brink of civil war, and the Championship will ask whether a breakaway from the lower leagues is the only option.

Bolton Chairman Phil Gartside's vision of a Premier League 2 could come to pass after all.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I don't get it, but then when have the Premier League, Football League and FA made any sense?

  • Comment number 2.

    It has been clear for a while that England has more professional football teams than we can properly support. Sooner or later there is going to be even more stratification of the game as clubs work to protect their incomes at the expense of others.

    I don't much like it, but I can't see how we can stop it in this money-obsessed version of the sport that we have fostered in England.

  • Comment number 3.

    It would be ironic that all the medium to lower ranked Premier Teams who are engineering this financial security blanket for themselves if they are relegated, end up seeing the top 5 or 6 teams then sail off into the distance, along with Sky TV, to a European League.

    Of course, if (when) that happens, they will be crying foul about being excluded unfairly... much like League 1 & 2 teams are right now.

  • Comment number 4.

    I was right, everybody posting on this was right. This is the formation of EPL 2. You can hardly call this sly or stealth so why not just say so?

  • Comment number 5.

    This will lead to the Premier League's hegemony over English football and therefore the branding and Americanisation of at least 2 or 3 tiers.

    There is truth in the worries that a Premier League 2 is being made via stealth. Its clear (to me anyway) that doubling the parachute payments simply allows the relegated teams to stay healthy in the championship. And never be relegated from it.

    So what chance does a League 1 side stand in a Championship dominated by teams paid by the Prem? They might have a pipe dream of making into the Premiership but come on, that is getting more and more remote every year.

    I fully understand the League club's worries, the Premier League would love another league full of competitive rich clubs that they can sell the TV rights for at a cut price "Premier League Lite", to all countries and tap the slighty poorer folk who arent already subscribed.

    Its rotten people. Totally rotten to the core.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is another example of another financial nail in the coffin of a sport that is supposed to be for the working man. Top clubs are now greedy to make sure they remain top clubs and will do anything to stay there, Sky and other sponsors are making a mint out of "The Best League in the World" and players are earning figures equivalent to some country's national debt. Smaller clubs are trying to compete with this nonsense and failing (e.g. Chester City). Will we ever see a Wimbledon or Swansea rising through the Divisions again? No. The game we all watched as kids is no more unless you watch the lower divisions or non league. That's where I think I'll be heading in future.

  • Comment number 7.

    This idea is so incedibly crass it's unreal. As a Luton fan, we were there when the Premiership came about, and voted in favour, thinking we'd be there forever. Look at us now! For clubs like Hull/Portsmouth/Burnley, who are punching above their weight, at the moment they'll be thinking these new payments are great. But what happens if/when they do a Soton or Leeds, as Watford almost are? This can only make the gap even bigger, cause more clubs to spend what they can't afford as Hull have, and ruin English football. Clubs such as Blackpool or Swansea will even less chance of getting to the Prem, and those in Leagues 1/2 none. Whoever thought of this idea of increased parachute payments should be shot. The Prem should give more money to lower clubs than the fraction of what's being offered and all should stop being greedy. Parachute payments are already a joke, getting paid for failing!

  • Comment number 8.

    I can understand the resistance from the clubs in Leagues One and Two to the parachute payments but wouldn't it be better for the payments to be paid to the clubs when they are promoted not relegated. Therefore, they are less likely to overspend on players' wages and also allow the clubs to buy new players. This would make it less likely that a situation like Hull's to occur.


  • Comment number 9.

    Sounds like the perfect opportunity to scrap the Premier League.

  • Comment number 10.

    The Football League should just ask for the extra money that would be added to parachute payments, to instead be spread amongst the league clubs.

    It is fairly generous of the Prem to offer more money, we should take it but let it be spread more equally.

    This 'encroachment on the 'sovereignty'' of the Football League I don't get, what rules are different at the moment anyway? As a Derby fan i'd take the extra money!

  • Comment number 11.

    As regards the parachute payments, they should only apply to teams that have only been in the Prem for a couple of years, perhaps on a sliding scale, so 100% after 1 year, 50% after two years, and 25% after three years.

    The logic of providing a safety net for clubs that have been relegated only really applies to new members of the Prem. If you didn't do this, the newly-promoted clubs just could not afford to risk spending money to stay up, and would simply be relegated 12 months after winning promotion.

    The same stark choice does not present itself to established Premier clubs. Newcastle, for example, had been in the top flight for well over a decade if memory serves me well, and already had a squadful of Premier quality players (well, expensive ones anyway). They shouldn't have needed the parachute payment, and if they did need it, they only had themselves to blame.

    This would be a much fairer system that didn't have the nasty side-effect of nixing the ambition of lower-division clubs.

  • Comment number 12.

    Is it time for a split between the Premier League and the Football League for good, ala Rugby League and Rugby Union?

    Let them develop seperately, let no interaction or transfer of players or coaches between them be allowed, and maybe then you will finally get some sort of equitable deal. Or you would see the death of local football which would quickly become the death of English football. Which in its current guise i dont think would be missed too much by anyone but supporters of the Big 4.

  • Comment number 13.

    As an Ipswich fan I was fairly bitter when the parachute payments we're introduced the year after we were relegated. Not because I thought we were entitled to them but because the teams coming down the following year (West Ham, West Brom and Sunderland) all landed in the championship with an advantage, which frankly I don't think they deserve after being relegated.

    I can see why this deal would benefit the premier league. Ensuring that strong teams return to the premiership improves the league as a whole, ticket sales remain high for bottom of the table clashes, more games are suitable for tv sales and they can laud themselves as the most competitive league in the world.

    This new deal will further poison the competitive nature of the lower leagues in England. For the last two seasons I've said to other fans I am happy in the championship due to its representation of football I love. A good natured atmosphere, good football and unpredictable results. If the championship is to be turned into the suckling pig of the bloated mess that is the premier league (and we were teetering on the edge anyway), then I look forward to turning out at league one games in the next couple of years.

  • Comment number 14.

    I dont have a problem with the parachute payments. In reality there a re a finite amount of footballers who are able to play at certain levels. With that in mind, more money at the upper levels will cascade down to lower levels as a result of market forces. Smaller clubs will have to spend time and effort getting their youth set ups working and developing talent (much like Crew have with Dario Gradi) and using this as a source of income. If it works well they will have every chance of breaking through the "glass" ceiling of the top divisions.

    More prudent financial control is what is needed at most clubs, living within their means, unlike Hull, Portsmouth, West Ham etc and the likes of Leeds and Southampton previously. Burnley must gain credit for not gambling everything on this season, and their board appear to be very shrewd in how they approached the Premier League.

    In my opinion, there are bigger things in football to worry about, for example the fleecing of cash by agents via the transfer system - this is taking money out of the game. Increasing the punishment for administration to relagation the following season, so in the example of Portsmouth - if they had performed well enough to stay in the Premier League on credit they would start next season in the Championship. If they were relagated on credit (without points deduction) they should start the next season in League 1 - Simples.

    Back to the massive amounts being discussed, as I said before, I am happy for the amounts in question to be paid as I believe it will cascade through to the smaller clubs.

  • Comment number 15.

    Clearly there is room for compromise. If the Premiership gave parachute payments over three years at £16 million , £12 million and £8 million then there would be a £12 million savin, which could be split as extra payments of £350,000 and £ 150,000 to League One and League Two clubs respectively

  • Comment number 16.

    It comes down to the Premier League trying to turn English football on its head and making it a trickle down from the top system rather that building from a strong foundation on up. Personally, I'd rather that my club, Crystal Palace, stay right where it is in the Football League rather than enter the Greed-Is-Good League (well, relegation wouldn't be what I'm thinking happily about). Simply put, English football shouldn't have to service clubs with debt loads the size of some nations. Clubs from Torquay to Carlisle shouldn't have to sacrifice because the Glazers, Hicks and Gillett can't balance a check book. Here's a radical idea, return the Premiership to the Football League. The FA has far too much on its plate. It can't even manage the oldest and most famous cup competition properly.

  • Comment number 17.

    The sums of money currently involved in football are completely incompatible with England's tier system. As Premiership clubs negotiate better TV deals football league clubs will need to spend larger amounts to compete (read: not get relegated) if they happened to be promoted, as well as require larger sums of money upon relegation. The financial rifts are already huge. Either the Championship will be forced to become Premier League 2, or the Premiership will distance itself and perhaps become a single-tier leage of twenty (or fewer?) franchises, free from the threat of relegation, and secure in the knowledge the money clubs earn one year will be the same as they make the next.

    Whilst this idea might be abhorrent to the common English football fan, it seems like it'd be the only way to slow down the current financial arms-race that is threatening to take over the game, with the Championship as its current target.

  • Comment number 18.

    The prem League forgets it needs the Football League for new Talent and England needs the players that are nurtured for the Prem.

    Why is the Football League not making this point?

    I think the parachute payment should be scrapped and distributed equally to all the other 72 League Clubs.would do wunders for the development from younger players and more exciting football!

  • Comment number 19.

    I'd rather see parachute payments scrapped all together rather than increased.

    The football league should reject any money the premier league offers unless it is distributed evenly amoungst the football league clubs.

    Personally my preference would be for the FA to take control of all English TV revenue for the 4 leagues and distrubute it more evenly. Clubs vote to protect their own position rather than for the good of football. We want interesting football not predictible football. Money controls the sport far too much.

    The way football works is the clubs with the most money get the most power. The ones will the most power then get more money. Clubs should not have the power. This isn't just English football but World football. Fifa need to control this as much as individual FAs need to. Foobtall has become about greed rather than entertainment.

  • Comment number 20.

    "The logic of providing a safety net for clubs that have been relegated only really applies to new members of the Prem. If you didn't do this, the newly-promoted clubs just could not afford to risk spending money to stay up, and would simply be relegated 12 months after winning promotion."
    What about the 60 million or so they get from tv rights at the start of the Prem season!?

  • Comment number 21.

    The Football League could accept this and bung a salary cap on each team.

    "Sure, here's £2.2m but you're only allowed to use £1m of it". Of course, that's hardly an accurate figure, but you know what I mean.

    Docked points for paying too much in wages, which does not breach EU employment laws.

    Finally, if the PL wants to keep teams like Wigan and Bolton polluting their league with attendances of under 10,000, then let them.

  • Comment number 22.

    Lazy journalism. The parachute payments themself are not the biggest issue, but I understand they allow you to write things like "a massive £48m" in roder to hype up your article.

    The real dispute is entirely within the football league side of things and is based on the hge difference between what championship and League one clubs will get.

    Most League 1/2 clubs fear that they will be priced completely out of the Championship by that difference and with no parachute payments if relegated from championship to league one there is a definate chance of clubs overstretching to survive and then folding.

  • Comment number 23.

    Assuming that the PL pushes this through ... what Dean_Sturridge said in #10 occured to me, too.

    "Top slicing" is a common enough concept in many organizations -- is it within the FL's powers to "top slice" the parachute-paid clubs, and redistribute as "solidarity" payments?

  • Comment number 24.

    I think it's time that clubs like Bolton, Hull, Burnley, and others remembered that it wasn't that long ago they were plying their trade in the old Division 4.

    Football should not be going down the rich get richer and the poor are left to fend for themselves.

    Parachute payments should not be extended, it would give an advantage to the clubs who basically just aren't good enough to compete at the top level.

    If clubs live within their means we wouldn't have problems like Leeds, Leicester and Portsmouth have found themselves in, in recent years.

  • Comment number 25.

    The logic of providing a safety net for clubs that have been relegated only really applies to new members of the Prem.

    How on earth do you come to this idiotic conclusion? If anything it is more of a financial shock to get relegated after 4 or 5 years than a single season as the club has adjusted fully to premiership wages.

    Newcastle are an almost unique case in that they had an income outside of the TV money they could keep ticket prices high and still sell them, keep sponsorship deals in place and had players that they could sell. would the likes of Bolton, Wigan, West Ham and Blackburn survive without parachute payments were they to go down? Probably not.

  • Comment number 26.

    In my opinion, there are bigger things in football to worry about, for example the fleecing of cash by agents via the transfer system - this is taking money out of the game.
    Hmmm, so why are agents "taking money out of the game" yet the players, managers, coaches, coach drives, tea ladies and such are not?

    Where do you expect this monry to go otherwise? Youth development, oops that pays coaches, buys equipment from outside firms etc, money out fo the game.


  • Comment number 27.

    "As an Ipswich fan I was fairly bitter when the parachute payments we're introduced the year after we were relegated. Not because I thought we were entitled to them but because the teams coming down the following year (West Ham, West Brom and Sunderland) all landed in the championship with an advantage, which frankly I don't think they deserve after being relegated."

    Parachute payments have been around for a very long time. I'm a Bradford fan and we had them, so I don't understand why Ipswich didn't.

    As for what's happening here, I suspect some of it might be about how the FL TV deal is split. About 80% of all FL TV income is split between the 24 Championship teams- League Two teams get 8% of the income. It could well be the lower league Chairmen trying to give the Championship chairmen a bit of a bloody nose, to try and make things fairer.

    I also don't understand what the article means. Surely £22m over two seasons is £11m a year and £48m over four seasons is £12m a year- an improvement but not doubling.

  • Comment number 28.

    The funniest thing about this is the continued bleating from people that "oooh the gap is gettign wider, the game will die", which has been a consistent drone since at least the early 1970's.

    Well guess what people, the game is still very mucha alive, the teams in the top division HAVE changed, indeed I don't know the exact figure but I'd guess that over half the current football league structure have at one time or another been premiership teams over the last 20 years, hardly a model of exclusivity then.

  • Comment number 29.

    Like the other Ipswich fan writing on this post, for the last few years I've been glad of our ineptitude at getting ourselves promoted back to the plastic league (I don't think I was the only one breathing a sigh of relief when we just missed the play-offs by a point two years ago). Even despite finishing fifth last time we were up there in 2001 and only missing out on the Champions League on the final day - an exceptional, freakish feat sadly unmatched by any other club our size over the last decade - you knew that was the best ever we were Ever going to get EVER in the new world order. In reality the 'dream' would more likely be endless mediocre 16th places 'supporting' b-calibre prima donna players, and a fear factor leading to a worsening style of play until the inevitable relegation (which we eventually decided to get out of the way the following season!). Even in the time since then the top half seems to have been stitched up even further by the larger city clubs.
    I agree the league should be very wary of attempts to dictate where Premier League money should go - and the best option would be for all the money to be distributed evenly across the three leagues. On the other hand, I do think it's quite amusing that despite the best efforts of the Premier League in the last 20 years to make it the 'best league in the world', swathes of the traditional larger provincial clubs - like mine - and a fair few of the medium city teams now litter the Championship and League One. And the teams in their places? Bolton, Wigan, Hull, Burnley, Fulham (who I admit really are trailblazing some hope for all of us at the mo!!). All fine clubs with fine histories, but with average gates pretty much a third of the number who turned out at our match at Newcastle last Saturday, and half of what the Leeds v Norwich clash drew in League One this season. And all of these clubs were in the lower two leagues at the inception of the Premier League in 92/93, but now mostly (Hull excepted) have a firm foothold at the top table. I believe it will still be possible as it ever was for clubs to make it up to the Premier League. But it will be ever harder...

  • Comment number 30.

    The aim should always be a level playing field, or at least a gently sloping one from Premier League to League 2 and beyond. So I support the "generosity" (ha ha) of the PL wanting to give more "hard earned" brass to the FL. but I agree entirely with the need to have the money spread more widely. I am a Burnley fan and recognise the merits of a parachute payment for such a relegated club, but I have no wish to see them increased and further tilt the playing field albeit in Burnley's favour. Fact is we are going down because we largely stuck with the same players and budget as we had in the Championship which is evidence of the widening gap between PL and FL.

  • Comment number 31.

    What the blog fails to point out is the reason for the Championship clubs backing the proposal and the League 1 & 2 clubs not. This is basically because the gap in money offfered to Championship teams will be around £2.2m (from £830k) compared to £325k and £250k in Leagues 1&2. The Gap between Prem and Championship is getting bigger and this will force the same between Chmapionship and League 1.

  • Comment number 32.

    lglethal - What on earth are you on about?

    Rugby Union and Rugby League are two sports with quite a stark difference in rules, it's nothing like seperating Prem and Football League... And no interaction of players or coaches etc? Again, nothing like Union and League...

    And finally, noone outside the top 4 would care? So, you think anyone outside the Top 4 wouldn't care if English Football ceased to exist?? My life...

  • Comment number 33.

    Very tiring and completely untrue of reading all the time how greedy the top clubs are.

    Those few earn their money and consequently the rest of the PL clubs are benfiting from the huge interest in the likes of Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. If those four and probably two or three others would negotiate their own TV deals, their annual income would be much higher so a lot less would be left over to the clubs who`re creating a lot less interest both domestically and worldwide.

    The greed can be found outside to let`s say top seven, clinging on to them and cashing on on both their success and worldwide interest.

    Same with the new deal on offer for the 72 FL clubs. Getting money for nothing, offered even more and still not happy. The parachute payment was a very bad idea in the first place, distorting the competition and giving relegated clubs an advantage over the other 21 Championship clubs.

    The odd club being relegated might be a bit unlucky in one way or another, but at the end of the day they go down because of not having collected enough points over the season. No disrespect to any supporter, but what the PL was punching well above their weight for clubs like Burnley and Hull City. Receiving parachute payments for four years for just having played one or two seasons in the PL is hardly a fair and reasonable reason to pay out any money at all and it shouldn`t be different if a club is relegated after ten seasons in the top flight.

    If the PL wants to distribute money to the 72 FL clubs then for a good reasons, to develop skilfull players for the future and not a make up for losses.

  • Comment number 34.

    #2, if there are too many clubs why is PL proposing to increase funding significantly for EVERYONE?

    This is a blatant attempt to create the PL2 that they wanted a few months ago. Anyone who can't see that is stupid. Anyone who supports it is greedy.

    Unfortunately, we know who usually win out.

  • Comment number 35.

    Success should be rewarded, not failure. Clubs should get the money on promotion, not relegation. The FA and FL are so bloody spineless. Get in a room and sort it out. It's your competition to run.

  • Comment number 36.

    I would have thought the solution was obvious: the Football League should accept the money but introduce a salary cap system. That way the clubs relegated are forced immediatly into a sustainable business model and the extra money from the Premier League can be spent on facilities and youth teams.

  • Comment number 37.

    I don't think this is as bad as few people are making out.

    At the moment, if a team who gets relegated from the Premier league and then gets promoted next year (newcastle and west brom) their parachute payments for the year gets redistributed amongst the Championship clubs, now i'm assuming that will continue. And the parachute payments aren't a guarantee to success. Look at Reading, Middlesborough as good examples.

    Teams like Blackpool and Doncaster will of never had as much money in all their lives! Then you look at teams coming up, if Millwall or Swindon get promoted they will have a lot of money too.

    The fact is for something the premier league don't have to do, its not too bad is it?

  • Comment number 38.

    @19: "Foobtall has become about greed rather than entertainment."

    Uh-huh, and I suppose greed has nothing to do with refusing the offer?

    The main complaint is that the change would impair the ability of lower league teams to make the high jump to the top division. Or to paraphrase, it massively complicates the business of satisfying their own greed!

    It's all well and good to sit back and throw stones at the glass houses of the greedy. But, try not to take out the front wall of your own house while you do...

  • Comment number 39.

    Well firstly I have to question the choice of photo? What relevance does Rosario Central, the 2nd team of Rosario in Argentina (after Newells Old Boys) have to do with this argument?

    The parachute payments are just a fop to shut up the poorer Prem clubs while the top 4 pull away because of their CL earnings. Eventually the Championship would develop a top 8 or so that yoyo to/from the Prem and the rest would argue that the cost of falling down to League 1 is too hard to bare.

    We are well used to financial cheating at the top levels of english, spanish and italian football where the clubs borrow with impunity to keep ahead of the rest. But really it's just a reflection of modern global economics. Top governments do the same, but while the financial institutions have confidence in them, then they're allowed to keep throwing it all on the tab, to be paid back later, or never. If United lose SAF and don't replace their older generation well, and start plummeting down outside European places, the credit agencies will re-evaluate them and that huge debt will become a millstone around their neck. But we know United will just keep spending more money they don't have to prevent it happening, or wait for a rich sheikh to clear the debt.

  • Comment number 40.

    "Same with the new deal on offer for the 72 FL clubs. Getting money for nothing, offered even more and still not happy." That's because they're still only getting a fraction of the amount those in the Prem get - whilst the Championship isn't so bad, there is still a big difference.

    And trickydicky1971, in response to "Smaller clubs will have to spend time and effort getting their youth set ups working and developing talent (much like Crew have with Dario Gradi) and using this as a source of income. If it works well they will have every chance of breaking through the "glass" ceiling of the top divisions." How can they spend more time with youth when this requires investing MORE money to produce talent, which they aren't getting? Most lower league clubs lose money already as it is! true there are those such as Crewe (and arguably Luton) who "generate" players in particular and are known for this, but you can't simply say because you have spent more time training them, they will become better. Liverpool are a good example at the moment of this, who have several youth coaches but fail to produce the likes of Owen/Gerrard anymore.

  • Comment number 41.

    @32 Great_Shatners_Ghost

    I was talking about the historical split of rugby into the two competing codes back in the late 19th century. That was a split based on the fact that the rich upper class players wanted the sport to remain amateur (and free) whilst the working class players wanted to be paid for their endeavors (because they had to take time off work to train and play, etc.). The rules have evolved into two separate sports over the last 120-odd years since the split.

    A split now between the FL and the PL would not be noticeably different in the rules of the game (apparently though there are already differences!?!) but in time they might have developed into new codes, who knows? Oh and its only been in the last 20 years or so that movement between the codes at a professional level was allowed. So i stand by that point too...

    And you've completely misunderstood my comment on the death of English football. If the game were to die in its current form and come back (and it would come back - this is England after all!) in an equitable form where the gap between the rich and the poor clubs was significantly reduced so that it was a level playing field in the PL, the championship and the leagues rather then be a playing field where the amount of money you have pretty much dictates where you sit in relation to the entire field, then yes i think only the fans of the top 4 would care, because they would lose their massive advantage. If you applied a salary cap across all the leagues that set the maximum you could spend on players to say the level of, Birmingham for example, do you honestly think that the Big 4 would continue to maintain their near monopoly of the top 4? Of course not, and on an each match basis the PL would become a significantly more interesting competition.

    A salary cap will never happen of course but if it took something as drastic as a short term death of English football to bring in a more equitable Premier League and Football League, i dont think that too many people would be complaining...

  • Comment number 42.

    Vote with your feet and tv's Englishmen!

    Money has ruined football for me and I certainly won't be buying into any Euro Super League.

  • Comment number 43.

    At the end of the day, the FA is either going to wake up and smell the coffee or they're going to continue down the road of exceptionalism that will eventually ruin the club system in England. Given the absolutely shoddy record the FA has, and their ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I have no doubt it will be the latter. The result will be the decline and fall of the Premier League and the rise of European Leagues such as La Liga and the Bundesliga. The Man Utd fans who have correctly divined that the Glazers are ruining their club. Once a model of supporter friendliness, now they are teetering on the brink of financial ruin. It reminds me of the Russian Empire right after the three hundredth anniversary of the Romanov dynasty; outwardly looking stable, but a peek under the surface would reveal the rot that would topple them a mere few years later. Sir Alex could rightly say as Louis XIV did, "After me, the deluge." The only outstanding question, who is the FA's Rasputin?

    This season, two clubs in the upper half of the English Football system, Portsmouth and Crystal Palace, went into administration. West Ham United came very close. Liverpool, which has been terribly managed by Hicks and Gillett (Hicks defaulted on debts incurred by his baseball and ice hockey teams in the US), has seen its on-field performance suffer. Manchester United's debt is astronomincal, not due to its actual performance, but because of the Glazer's greed. Hull City, in its attempt to play at the top level, is teetering on the edge of financial ruin. Yet, the FA and Premiership continue to push their ridiculous trickle-down model. Should England not perform well in South Africa (we Yanks may have something to say about that) and not be named host country for either the 2018 0r 2022 World Cup (a distinct possibility, given the whims of FIFA), the FA's whole economic model will collapse as demorolization sets in. In some respects, we in the USA are lucky that football is not one of the major sports but rather a popoular niche sport. Our financial goals are set lower so that those looking to make a quick buck are discouraged from getting involved.

  • Comment number 44.

    Iglethal, I think you place too much credence on salary caps. If you look at both the NBA and NFL, you will see that caps work only to keep the power structure in each league at the status quo. It has had some success in the NHL, but since they were flat on their back following the lockout, the only way they could go is up. Yet, at present, the NHL is operationg one franchise, Phoenix Coyotes, out of bankruptcy and another, Dallas Stars, are suffering from Tom Hicks-itis as he defaulted on the franchise's debt. The salary cap may look from afar, but when you get close up it starts to reek.

  • Comment number 45.


    "Uh-huh, and I suppose greed has nothing to do with refusing the offer?"

    I never said it didn't. In fact what you've said backs up my point. Football is about greed in entertainment now

  • Comment number 46.

    There should be no parachute payments at all. Because all parachute payments do in the long run is to create a 'second tier' elite who will enjoy an unfair advantage over the rest of the Championship teams.

    FIFA/UEFA need to outlaw such payments. And also, need to force top flights to subsidize lower leagues. The money/greed thing has gone too far.

  • Comment number 47.

    Is it time for a split between the Premier League and the Football League for good, ala Rugby League and Rugby Union?


    League and Union are DIFFERENT games (albeit variations on rugby) with different rules. Are you seriously suggesting the football league or the premiership start playing a hybrid of the game we know as football?


  • Comment number 48.

    The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish

    A poor old man who lived in poverty all his life went fishing every day. He twice threw his net into the sea only to catch seaweed. On his third throw he caught a golden fish! The fish pleaded for his life and would grant any wish the poor old man wished. However the man did not want anything. He threw the fish back into the sea and went home.

    He told his wife about his encounter of whom was very angry. She demanded his return to the sea to ask for a new washboard. For their board was snapped in two. The fish granted his wish. The following day his wife demanded a new house so the man yet again asked the fish and a wish is granted.

    The following day the man returns with instructions from his wife to wish for her a palace, to become Tsarina, the imprisonment of the fish to her will. The sea became dark, stormy, and eventually upon the last request burst in anger! The fish returned the woman to her cottage with a broken washboard.

    The moral of the story is being to greedy and you risk ending up with nothing.

    As a Bournemouth supporter I know which league I am directing that too.

  • Comment number 49.

    And as usual the supporter is the last one considered as their club is either taken over by rich money men / the Premier League (and Sky) etc so they effectively become paying customers or their club is written off as unimportant and not worth considering as it does not fit into the marketing machine profile. It is sad that after all the talk by the government nothing was done to ensure that supporters had a say in their club via a place on the board as there might be a lot more sense in the running of football. My club is on the brink of relegation and possibly extinction but this season has been fantastic in as much as we as supporters have reclaimed our club.
    I dislike the Premier League and all that it stands for - money. It is slowly killing the game.

  • Comment number 50.

    I'm considering posting to this blog again, but am wondering if my comments will be deleted for a second time? ...

    Not quite sure where the concept of free speech has disappeared to, but I'm hoping that this is only a temporary state of affairs......

  • Comment number 51.

    @44 Redpalaceblueskybulls
    I dont have any experience with the American codes but in Aus, Australian Rules Football has benefited greatly from a salary cap. Before the introduction of the cap, 3 or 4 teams were consistently winning the title (so much so that between them they racket up about 40 titles in the space of 50-odd years). But since the cap was introduced no team has dominated for more then 2 or 3 years as the cap forces teams to develop teams from youth and not just buy in the best players.

    Same deal applies with the NRL in Aus - best demonstrated by the recent Melbourne Storm controversy where they've been caught breaching the salary cap for the last 5 years and hence during those years they won the premiership twice and the minor premiership for the other 3 times! Its a good example of the advantage a team gets when they can just afford to buy the best players.

    But dont worry i know its a pipe dream for salary caps to be introduced into the Premier League (and probably just as unlikely in the lower leagues) at least until a salary cap is introduced in every country's league. Until then, any nation which brings in the salary cap will lose its best players to those leagues which dont have a salary cap and can then fork out for the biggest players... Only FIFA can change this and they're's no chance of them doing it (FIFA being about as useful as a unicycle is for climbing Mount Everest), so we may as well forget the whole salary cap idea and maybe just push for a zero debt cap. i.e. no club is allowed to spend more on players then it would make in revenues. Just an idea?

    @ 47 eezy_squeezy
    Go back and read my second post, i was talking about the history that led to the split of the codes. You do know that Rugby was a single code at one point, yeah?

    Oh and apparently (if the conditions reported for the PL's money are to be believed) there are already rule differences between the Premier League and the Football League. So perhaps a hybrid is already being played... anyone know what the differences are?

  • Comment number 52.

    Does it matter?

    Sooner rather than later the Top 4 or so will jump ship to a European Super League.

    Then what happens for the fans of the remaining clubs is that they get bored. The corporate boxes will be less attractive and the prawn sandwich brigade will probably go back to Golf,Rugby or something else. Over priced tickets and sky subscription becomes less and less attractive. I firmly believe that if you had just a two tiered premier League with no relegation beyond this then the fans would get bored as well.

    Football will eat itself.

  • Comment number 53.

    Whilst I can see the benefits of a salary cap, there is one major drawback - if The Premiership's top clubs are restricted as to how much they can spend on wages, then you are looking at a situation where the World's top players will drift away to other leagues, where they can continue to demand outrageous wages and still win trophies. Under the salary cap system, clubs would have to limit themselves to one or two 'luxury' players to meet the budget.
    The game may become more competitive domestically, but English clubs would then struggle to make an impact in Europe. I realise that, as a supporter of one of the big four, I have a slightly biased viewpoint on this, but it is still a major flaw in the argument.
    I would agree that more should be done to ensure ALL clubs operate within their means, so maybe limiting them to a set percentage of their turnover as a wage budget would be more workable.
    Ultimately, the fact remains that, as the flagship of English football, the Premiership should be doing everything possible to help the FL, which means the money being spread more equally, not just a big fat payment to relegated sides.

  • Comment number 54.

    The Premier League does have some rules that are slightly different because they have become too big and powerful and make up their own rules as they go along.

  • Comment number 55.

    Increasing parachute payments will give the weaker teams more scope for signing longer term deals with their playing staff that they sign, they'll be able to buy better players and gamble more in the secure knowledge that they have a certain amount to cushion a relegation and honour the big contracts they have made.
    This in turn will lead to a better and more competetive Premier league with the weaker teams having stronger squads. It will in fact increase the amount of point's the big team's lose and therefore make the Premier league title challenge much more interesting !

  • Comment number 56.

    The advent of Garside's Premier league 2 is marketing, marketing of professional football in England is a constantly evolving business to generate as much money as possible, all ideas are welcome.

    Increase the number of Premiership club's by ONE maybe two team's ? Have four teams relegated instead of three. Four teams promoted from the Championship. The argument against this would be an overcrowded fixture list but what about those teams that do not play in the European Champion's league, after all the bigger club's do have bigger and more expensive squads. How much more exciting it would be ?

  • Comment number 57.

    It seems to me, that the control of football is in too many hands and each of those vested interests are only concerned with their lot and not about football in general.

    How sad it is to read that supporters of clubs are "happy" not to have achieved promotion - it should be every club's ambition to get to the highest tier of football. Having said that, the way the "system" works at present punishes success and rewards failure.

    I would like to see one body controlling football in England and the distribution of ALL funds that come into the coffers from TV etc. (except those funds that are generated by individual clubs for themselves outside of things like EPL TV rights etc.) , should be shared between all the clubs, in all the first 5 tiers of football using a formula based on success and not on failure.

    For example: their is a minimum of 1.7 billion pounds that comes in from TV rights across the board. This money should be given to all the clubs but with the following stipulations; that (1). from the money received, 70% of this money must be used to pay the wages of players in their 1st team squad and (2). the squads are to be made up of 25 players 1st tier (Premier); 30 players 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier; 25 players "conference leagues".

    Based on the current number of teams in each of these "divisions" (plus 66 in the conference leagues), the distribution of the 1.7 billion pounds should be 47.5% 1st tier (807.5 million, 40.375 mill./club), 25% 2nd tier (425 million, 17.71 mill./club), 12.5% 3rd tier (212.5 million, 8.85 mill./club), 10% 4th tier (170 million, 7.1 mill./club), 5% "conference" (85 million, 1.28 mill./club).

    With 70% of this money to go towards wages, the minimum a club MUST pay to their squad players is : 1st tier 1,130,500 pa (21,740 /wk); 2nd tier 413,195 pa (7,946 /wk); 3rd tier 206,597 pa (3,973 /wk); 4th tier 165,278 pa (3,178 /wk); "conference" 36,000 pa (693 /wk). These would effectively be the "standard" wages for players and create a level playing field for all clubs within each "division" and relieve the current, enormous burden on clubs of "finding" money for wages.

    These ridiculous "parachute" payments will cease to be and clubs negotiating contracts with players will, as a matter of course, be protected against these stupid relegation/promotion clauses that are currently written in to contracts.

    I believe that this type of system would bring back transparency and stability to football and have enormous benefits for the communities centred around football clubs.

    It is imperative, I believe, that football should be wrested back from the "fly-by-nighters", from the "johnny-come-latelys" and their related parasites and be given back to the fans and supporters.

  • Comment number 58.

    Increasing the number of club's in the Premier league would lead to another two club's being promoted from the conference league, therefore increasing the interest in the Championship race as they battled for the top four promotion place's, the extra national coverage and interest generated would in turn generate more cash from a nation that has increased it's ever more prosperous population by 20% since the advent of the Premier league.

  • Comment number 59.

    Increasing the number of team's in the Premiership could lead to a slightly longer season, we'll have less dependence on 5 day test cricket that end's in a draw, we could have a three week break in January when fund's and temperature's are low, we could do without all those meaningless nationalistic international "UNfriendlie's" that we have to suffer. We could have better summer's and increased attendances. The power's that be should canvas these remark's and ask the fan's?

  • Comment number 60.

    The problem with our obese society is that people will always want a bigger slice of the cake without having to pay any extra !

  • Comment number 61.

    If the Premier League want to increase these payments then fine. However, what I don't understand is why they should be allowed to ride roughshod over the Football League when it comes to the allocation of those payments.

    Once a team is relegated back to the Football League then they should be governed by the Football League. In that sense, I don't understand why the FL don't just say, cheers Premier League we'll have the cash but you pay it directly to us and we'll apportion it as we see fit.

    What they should then do is say ok, 50% goes to the Championship; 30% to League One and 20% to League Two. This system would be much fairer, and encourage those clubs coming back down from the Premier League to budget properly and manage themselves responsibly knowing that they are not going to get all of the cash to bail them out.

  • Comment number 62.

    BANKSDALE: What about freedom ? What about the ability to choose and decide on one's own whim ? It lead's to innovative thinking? You MUST, we MUST, they SHOULD, "one body" Regulation
    Your proposal's would actually decrease the job creation. Your proposal's of a "standard wage" would create a black market of payment's and incentive's, then there is the creative accountancy and loophole city that would foister a mountain of bureaucracy.
    The most important issue in our live's is our freedom to think and choose of our own accord.

  • Comment number 63.

    I've got to admit I don't really understand the politics of it all but it seems like premier league arrogance to me. Quite how they can be annoyed that the football league wants to consider their offer rather than snapping it up at a minutes notice is beyond me. The PL 'broke away' from the FL so should accept that FL are not subservient to them and are entitled to make their own decisions in their own interests. At the very least, rather than reacting with irritation the PL should be trying constructively to find out what the FL WOULD like from them. This reaction only makes me think they just want to trickle down a few peanuts to keep them sweet and really dont want anything in return other than 3 rich-ish clubs each year and silent subordination otherwise.

  • Comment number 64.

    HACKERJACK: "the teams in the top division HAVE changed, indeed I don't know the exact figure but I'd guess that over half the current football league structure have at one time or another been premiership teams over the last 20 years, hardly a model of exclusivity then"

    43 teams have played in the prem since it started in 1992 (18 years ago) and only 4 teams have ever won it - man u chelsea arsenal and blackburn (once only). Put another way, apart form 1995, the premier league is always won by one of 3 clubs, a record set to continue again this year. so only 23 teams outside the current 20 have ever played in it, well under half the remaining 72 FL clubs. 23 new teams in 18 years isnt great but its not too bad I suppose. The main issue for me is the winners of the PL and the top 4 CL places. That needs to be more competitive and is something the PL needs to address.

  • Comment number 65.

    I think the Football League should tell the Premier League to keep their money.

    Instead, they should invite any PL clubs that wish to join them to do so by the end of next season, after which there will be no promotion or relegation to the PL. The PL can then paddle its own exclusive canoe.

    The rest of us can then have a genuinely competitive pyramid, with much more sensible wages being paid and money being equitably distributed. This will give a much more weight in relation to chances of success to the quality of management, transfer dealings, and youth development than is the case in the PL. The quality of the football will not be as per premiership but this will be more than made up for by the competitive nature of all the leagues and the chances of going up and down.

    As a Sheffield United supporter this would to me be preferable to scrabbling around trying to get into the PL, having no chance whatsoever of winning it, surviving for a short time before being relegated again and being financially no better off because of the high wage demands in the PL.

  • Comment number 66.

    This looks like an odd "civil war" to me. If the football league doesn't want the money under the Prem's terms then I hope that the Prem follows up with the reported plan of halting all solidarity payments. How the clubs in League 1 and 2 think they'll be better off in that scenario I'll never know. When you are getting money for nothing (and how important to the Prem are clubs at the bottom of the Football league? Not much to be honest) complaining that you don't like the manner in which it is given to you is too funny. The Prem draws players and supporters from around the globe and would be fine if most of the Football league went out of business. While it would be better to keep the current system, I can't see how the Football league thinks they have much bargaining power here since even the worst case (no more promotion/relegation between the Prem and Championship) would do little to stop the Prem money train from rolling on. The lower league clubs (and even mid table Prem clubs) are lucky that the Prem doesn't operate like some of the other leagues in which the clubs negotiate their own television contracts and keep the earnings. Given the debt levels seen in many Prem clubs, I'm surprised that they haven't moved to such a system already even if it would hurt the competitiveness of the league in the long term as the temptation must be powerful. I expect some minor alteration in the terms as a public relations gesture followed by the football league grabbing the money while pretending that they made some grand uprising.

  • Comment number 67.

    "and how important to the Prem are clubs at the bottom of the Football league? Not much to be honest"

    I think you just summed up the FL's issue in one sentence. The current Prem teams don't have a god given right to be at the top forever. One reason that football has such a long term attraction is that it's not always the same. Those with slightly longer memories will recall that Man Utd weren't always as dominant as they are now. In fact their dominance seems to have coincided with the inception of the PL and I doubt that is accidental.

    The League's annoyance is that they've survived for more than a century on very little revenue but in the last 10 years huge amounts of money have poured into the Prem. Now the clubs who happened to be at the top when it started are forgetting their roots and looking very like they want to pull up the drawbridge behind them and stop other teams sharing in their new found wealth.

    It is a battle that neither side can win. The Premier League will have no longevity if the FL decide to not accept relegated prem teams. It will go the way of the NFL and English sports fans will very quickly lose interest, not to mention the source of young players drying up. Equally the football league has a very much reduced appeal if the top teams can't qualify for european competition and don't have any connection with the big name clubs.

    IMO the blame here lies with the PL, who need to get off their high horse and accept that they need to treat to the FL as an equal and work with them to produce a longer term and more acceptable plan for distributing their TV income.

  • Comment number 68.

    The answer is very very simple - any payments form the Premier League / Sky should be paid direct to the Football League and then let the chairmen of the football league decide how it is spent. They may as a group to direct money towards youth academies or to infrastructure improvements rather than just handing it to clubs to infalte players wages.

  • Comment number 69.

    We should scrap all of this megabucks nonsense and impose a team salary cap. Football is deadly boring now that it is all about who is the richest. Football is exciting when it is all about more equal teams competing to win.

    Vote with your feet folks. Boycott these fat cat teams and their ridiculously high prices. Give the financial finger to the players who earn a year's salary in one week, and do naff all to deserve it. Go and support your local lower league teams and have a much more enjoyable time.

    If we did this, we could abolish the need for parachute payments and all that rubbish. They only exist because teams wildly overspend on wages to try and stay up, and then would go bankrupt if they went down. Why not encourage them to manage their finances better by letting them go bankrupt if they cannot balance their budgets and act within financial forecasts?

    Or have you all got far too much money and so you can afford to give Premiership clubs thousands of your pounds? I say full power to the Football League, and if the Premiership and Championship want to split away then fine. They'll live and die by the same sword, because sooner or later the more successful clubs will break away from them in turn.

    Stop the madness now, have the guts to insist on a salary cap for each team.

  • Comment number 70.

    I think the lower leagues should get more financial input so that parachute payments are not required.

    I also think all professional footballers playing at the top level should be comfortable with both feet.

    "Professional" or lucky, I'm growing quite unhappy with football, not the game, the game is perfect, the players and the teams need a good shake down.

  • Comment number 71.

    The PL are obviously trying to create a second league by stealth. I would imagine that this great gift from the gods would eventually lead to them requiring input into the structure of the Championship and how it is run.

    Personally I would say 'sod em' and let the football league carry on as it is. Yeah that would mean less money to go around, but it would allow the FL to manage its own affairs.

    It seems a bit strange that a relegeted premiership club gets a fat wedge of cash, while a team like Scunthorpe who have somehow miraculously stayed in the Championship have to look behind the sofa again in the summer for its cash. Actually forget all this, I don't really mind as it has been great fun being a Scunny supporter these last few years!!

  • Comment number 72.

    Premier League Clubs are rich and arrogant, they do far less in fostering English talent than do the league clubs who rely on good youth schemes. If you are rich and arrogant you simply go abroad and buy whoever you want. The premier league should change its to the Plague, far more appropriate. Parachute payments should stop, and League clubs if the stick together will garner huge public support. If the League clubs had any sense they would impose a levy on any player being bought by a Premier League club, something of the order of a million pounds would do, that is put into a pot and shared with other league clubs.

  • Comment number 73.

    I think the only way the lower league clubs could cause any form of protest is to boycott the FA cup and the Carling cup.Sponsorship for these cups would drop and then the FA would have to act to try and sort the greed of the premiership teams.

    It all points to a European super league much sooner than you think.

  • Comment number 74.

    Interesting use of a picture of Rosario Central's ground from Argentina to illustrate a discussion about Football League/Premier League TV coverage!

    Was that a deliberate choice or just a random ground with a TV camera in it?

  • Comment number 75.

    Excellent article Dan! This website in my opinion should really have more articles from yourself and the boys than cover the European and South American football that are actually informative and factual. I'm sick of all the opinionated rubbish from the likes of McNulty and Pierce that usually gets put on here (Robbo Robson blogg the exception of course). Nice one!

  • Comment number 76.

    it would have been more interesting if you had go in to more why they clubs voted against it, more detail on the 'strings' would have made the piece much more interesting.

  • Comment number 77.

    This is the thin end of the wedge. It's only a matter of time before we have a "European League" anyway. 350 grand, even if it's charity, is a joke. As a Wigan lad I usually don't have much respect for what Whelan says but his idea of debt to income as a "cap" on clubs spending makes sense. It won't get anywhere of course-much too sensible.

  • Comment number 78.

    I'm a Hull City supporter so from a purely selfish perspective I welcome the thought of a few extra mill to help bail us out. However I fear that, as with all other financial gains we've seen in football over the years, the only people who will ultimately benefit will be the players and their agents. For a club operating at the lower end of the PL, the fact that relegation brings with it £48m would weaken any negotiating stance by the club when discussing wages. In that situation, what agent would accept a relegation clause in their client's contract?

  • Comment number 79.

    I don't see how this makes much of a difference. The Premier League and Championship are already worlds apart. So if we take this season as an example, Newcastle and WBA have gone straight back up. This means they had one year's worth of parachute payments. So the proposed changed wouldn't have affected them at all.

    If clubs can't get back up in the first two seasons, then they are unlikely to get back in in seasons 3 and 4, even with the proposed extra payments.

    If the Championship ends up with lots of teams getting parachute payments in years 3 and 4, then this is proof that they aren't really helping the clubs. If the parachute payments really do help the clubs, then they will go back up in years 1 or 2.

    I have to say I disagree with parachite payments though. You are saying to clubs "you are hopeless, so here's a £48m reward". Clubs can easily put clausing in contracts that cut wages if they get relegated. There's no reason for Championship players to be paid Premiership wages. After all, they proved they weren't good enough for the Premiership.

  • Comment number 80.

    For David who said "I also don't understand what the article means. Surely £22m over two seasons is £11m a year and £48m over four seasons is £12m a year- an improvement but not doubling.".

    The answer is simple. The clubs now get £22m. It's proposed that they get £48m. That's more than double.

  • Comment number 81.

    It’s a real sad day when the money grabbers who have a strangle hold on our top football clubs start this form of aggressive protectionism. Parachute payment were designed from day one as a disgraceful method to protect people’s investments - nothing to do with football. The Premier League/FA should hang its head in shame for their part in the demise of the real spirit of English Football - when a club could come from the lower leagues and get to the top flight without the need for billions of foreign money. Yes football is all about money now - because that’s how it’s been manipulated, for the good of the few, the very few. Shame on you FA - you’ve sunk to the lowest depths possible and will go down in history as the killers of the English game.

  • Comment number 82.

    wouldn't it make more sense to give the lower leagues more money thereby increasing competition and "pressure" on the championship so that maybe for a change non of the clubs that have just come up out of the championship to the prem go straight back down after a miserable season, for example derby county a few years back.

  • Comment number 83.

    I am very concerned about these Parachute payments, basically "protecting" the Premiership "club". Even for teams like Swansea (a Championship side at present) will find it difficult to compete with the ex Premiership club's financial advantage that these payments will create.

  • Comment number 84.

    Without league clubs where players and managers prove themselves before being leached by the Premier League, would the Premier League be what it is now?

  • Comment number 85.

    If the prawn sandwich brigade which to chuck us more money then we should split the extra evenly across all league clubs. This is designed to protect the business plans of the Bolton, wigans of this world. I mean Pompey run up debts of £100m plus and we're gonna clear their debt and give them another £48m.
    Just because the premier league is not competitive please don't let their mismanagement spoil it for the rest of us!

  • Comment number 86.

    Someone has pointed out the Aussie rules, er, rule of salary caps, which I think would be a great idea. Put in a soft cap, allowing clubs ot go over if they wish but forcing a penalty from them to all the otehr clubs in the league for every pound they go over.

    Yes, this would mean that the four big clubs would lose some players.... and? Boo hoo, so they don't win the champions league anymore. But the champions league is not about football, it's about TV income. Very every overpaid international lost a place for an up anc oming British talent is made. The champions league loss would be the national sides' gain.

  • Comment number 87.

    Completely ridiculous from the Premier League.
    Not only giving more money to failures - stopping other (well run) clubs getting to the prem, but do they really think that if they give a lot of money to... Hull for example, that they will become stable? No, they won't.
    They're unstable due to poor management from the chairman and directors. Sure in the short term they'll be stable, but after that they won't, and when the parachute payments stop - if they've not got back in the prem by then then they'l fall back through the leagues, because suddenly a massive income has gone.

    Clubs who are poorly run and therefore relegated should not be given more money to squander, and instead should perhaps get some guidance of how to run a football club!!

  • Comment number 88.

    Surely the FA should be able to stop this in some way. Isn't it down to the FA to give the rights to play in the Champions League and the new Europa League to the Premier League.

    If the FL feel this is unfair, then the FA together with the FL should tell the Premier League to change the payments or they would withdraw all European spots which would then put the Premier League in a fix as they would have the biggest revenue league and best supported but with no where to play apart from with themselves.

    The FL should not give in to the Premier League and should stand firm.

  • Comment number 89.

    Red Mist (#8.)has a good idea. It makes much more sense to "reward" the promoted clubs than compensating the relegated ones. The clubs just relegated will have recently shown that despite premiership handouts, they can't compete, and the size of the hand-outs severely distorts competition within the championship. The reason relegated clubs have these crippling contracts is often from the need to compete when just promoted, so that would be the best time to give them the money.

  • Comment number 90.

    it isn't really rocket science. It makes sense that the proposals protect those who have just left the PL and that this gives them a far greater chance of returning quickly.

    Why should they?

    Rather than give extra support to teams who leave, just because they often decide to live beyond their means? Spread the extra wealth (and we're talking £24m x 4 years, x 3 teams) to all the leagues.

    They had the right idea, but the money should break down the lines between divisions, not reinforce it.

    No need for a PL2 and that would just make a larger but even more reinforced gang of clubs. The likes of Yeovil should be able to dream of digging their way from non-league and drive up.

    It isn't exactly hard work to make a fairer deal, but it never ceases to amaze me as to how stupid these football chairmen, let alone the FA, PL and Football league chairmen are.

  • Comment number 91.

    1 50% increase in the parachute payment and spreading the rest of the money around the other clubs owuld be best. Surely rather than the Premier League deciding the distribution of the money they should be allowing the Football League to decide that.

  • Comment number 92.

    The actions of the Premier League are old school bullying at it's worse, the powerful picking on the powerless. I reckon the timing of this ultimatum is no coincidence, with it unclear as to who will form the next UK government there is little prospect of any government intervention to stop the Premier League throwing it's weight around. If they force this through I will never watch another game in their poxy league.

  • Comment number 93.

    There's something fundamentally wrong with parachute payments anyway - clubs getting relegated have an artificially improved opportunity to be promoted immediately because they get payments allowing them to attract premier league quality players by paying premier league wages.

    Anyone surprised that Newcastle and West Brom are going up again?

    Two of the current crop of relegated teams need the payments because they have been so poorly managed from a business point of view, Hull's finances being a bit better than Pompey, but if they had been managed properly the financial advantage over teams in the Championship is huge.

    There is a desperate need to introduce far tighter financial rules in UK Football just as there is with the banks, one of which should be conditions written into all contracts referring to maintainable budgets based on income from whichever league you happen to be in. There have been far too many clubs sailing towards the brink, and many more to come, unless it becomes better balanced.

  • Comment number 94.

    I can't believe the sheer blindness and stubbornness of the Premier League to the Football League's concerns that it would discourage the competitiveness of English football. I'm an Arsenal fan who is, in fact, very appreciative of competitions like the FA Cup, which keep the beauty of the English game alive by showing that, on their day, anyone really can beat anyone. I love that, and it's something that makes me proud to be an English football fan. It would be brilliant to see this continue, but under the PL's current proposal, I just can't see this happening. It just seems like a very counter-effective system, particularly since it's not just the PL that needs to be looked after, but also the whole of English football.

    Of course, I get the fact that the PL have no obligation to give money to anyone else whatsoever, but surely, if they want to do a service to the game, then surely they should just keep the parachute payments as they are (after all, teams seem to be doing just fine as it is), and start spreading the wealth elsewhere. Then, that extra 78 million pounds (48 - 22 = 26 x 3 = 78) could go to the other League clubs EVENLY, giving them all an extra 1 million on top of the solidarity payments, which should also be divided more proportionately, if not completely equally. That way, these clubs could then improve academies, producing more young talent, meaning that we have a deeper pool of talent to choose from when it comes to England national team selections.

    Either that, or send some of that money down to the Blue Square leagues as well, help them out a bit. If teams in the higher tiers of English football are seen as "struggling" financially, non-league teams are having a terrible time of things. Give them some money, so that we don't see more cases like Chester City.

    There is a significant inequality in the monetary situations of the English game, and it's the responsibility of EVERYBODY involved to sort it out for the good of the game. That includes you, PL.

  • Comment number 95.

    I totally agree with the vast majority of contributors that the Premier League is trying to control football per se. I knew this would happen and never agreed with the concept in the first place. It started back in the 70s when larger clubs wanted their entire gate receipts rather than share them with smaller clubs as was the case and had been for many years. There then came a clutch of circa 10 clubs who promoted this idea of a Super League. The smaller clubs did not want it but the "Big Four" supported by a few others did and so it came to pass. The "Working Man's Theatre" became no more in the interests of capitalism (and Man Utd etc.)
    We now have a so-called sport that is only big business at it's worst and the clowns who run this fiasco have only one thing at heart - the future financial health (Champions League) of Man U/Chelsea/Arsenal and that is it. The sop that is being made to the Championship clubs is nothing more than a brass necked bribe as most of them are struggling to stay in contention financially anyway e.g. Crystal Palace. If your name is not Abramovic or Mahsood forget it.
    I support, and have done by season ticket for many years,my local club who are one of the supposedly bigger clubs in the CCC but I see many people in the community who can no longer afford to go and watch them purely because of money. Fans who had tickets last season have said they can no longer sustain contribution to the players' excesses and the game as we used to know it is dead. RIP Football!!

  • Comment number 96.

    I never thought I would find myself agreeing with a Gunners fan, Tree, but your comments are of an ideology long gone. great ideas but in reality it will never happen as those running the clubs in the Prem look after their own first. This is what happened in 1985 when the concept of such a league was first agreed and then followed the Abramovics and others who have ruined our sport. The foreign players whoever they play for are only here for the money which they then take back home to their families at our own fan's expense. Wonderful ideas Tree but will never happen.

  • Comment number 97.

    Thanks Trevlyn - nice to see that my comments are appreciated.

    I had a feeling that this would be the case, but one can always dream...

    It's just such an annoyance to see these clubs getting more money than they know what to do with, spending it idiotically and running into debt as a result of said stupidity, when there are clubs struggling to live within their means as a result of just existing.

    Oh well - let's just hope I get to be the head of the PL one day (I'm only 20, so there's plenty of time!).

  • Comment number 98.

    If, as Scudamore insists, this is simply a gesture to aid the football league, then why not lust hand the extra cash straight to them and let the football league allocate it in the way they see fit..

    The football leagues distribution would probably be the reverse of the way the premier league would do it, giving a smaller percent to the recently relegated sides who would still be receiving their parachute payments from the premier league and focusing on helping the lower leagues with the funds.

    I my honest opinion, helping English football is the furthest thing from the Premier leagues money making minds, their only concern is to extend and enlarge their franchise.
    By improving and extending the length of the parachute payments, they are extending the chances of the same relegated sides to regain premier league status, creating a wealthy top half to the championship which will eventually be the natural addition to create the premier league two.

    The top six championship sides and the bottom six premier league sides then the two Glasgow sides, will make up the second division of 14 sides, playing a minimum of 28 league games a season, plus cup games and promotion play off games.

    The top division would have the same amount of league games (28) as the second tier, leaving more time for cup and European matches than they have now.

    I can also see some kind of cup competition within the two premier divisions (the premiership cup) with the matches played outside the UK.

    From a business point of view, it is very nearly perfect, but you have to ask yourselves what will happen to the clubs that do not make the top two divisions. I suspect that their income will drop, some will go under and others will get involved in regional leagues, I also believe that there will be a system put in place where the premier league sides will adopt a football league side as a feeder club for their youth and trial players, or actually play their reserve sides in the football leagues....

  • Comment number 99.

    What is wrong is the size and length of the parachute payments that are being given to failed premiership teams. Obviously the premiership teams will vote for this, as although only three teams get relegated, around 14 fear relegation each year.
    Why should teams who just happened to be lucky and be in the premiership at the time the money being received from TV have rocketed benefit. Wigan, Stoke and Bolton for example are no bigger than Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday who are in Division 1. You even have Luton in non league football who arguably are as big as a team like Wigan.
    There are lots of teams in the lower divisions who have been in the premiership.

  • Comment number 100.

    If the prem wants to throw its weight around and threaten to withdraw to payments to the FL if they don't do as they are told then fine. The FL should turn around and say off you go then. No more promotion and relegation we'll stand on our own.

    The PL is already boring and becomes more stale each season. Without the fresh interest each season from how well the promoted teams will do there will be even less interest. It won't take too long before the paying public demand to see something entertaining and competitive.


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