Friday, January 19, 2007

Record EPL media sales threatens Championship

The Chairman of English League club Hull City fears the top Championship division is in danger of becoming a "worthless competition" due to the planned huge hike in parachute payments made to clubs relegated from the English Premier League. Under the current system, the three clubs who drop down receive a £7 million per year payment for the first two seasons following relegation. That will change from next season, however, following the announcement of a new television deal for English football's elite that will rake in an astounding £2.725 billion pot over the next four years. The windfall will mean an increase of more than 50 percent in the parachute payments made to the relegated clubs.

Adam Pearson believes this will give these clubs an unfair advantage in the Championship and threaten the competitive nature of a competition that since being re-branded three years ago has blossomed. At present, all Championship clubs receive £1 million a year with the winners scooping an additional £50,000 and the runners-up £25,000. "The disparity between the Premier League and Championship is a real threat to the future of the competition. The simple truth is if you can't get out of the Championship with an £11 million advantage over the 18 other clubs, you are not doing a very good job. The Premier League should start to look at the imbalance between the two leagues." the Hull chairman sai.

Similarly, Leeds United Chairman Ken Bates told the Yorkshire Post: "By Championship standards, the relegated clubs will have strong squads anyway but they will also get a £11 million parachute payment. We got £7 million. It is a big advantage for them. That sum of £22 million can make a huge difference. If the three clubs who came down last May (West Brom, Birmingham and Sunderland) do not manage to go up this season, they will get the £11 million payment next season. We will be competing against that."

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