Clubs can bridge the fi­nan­cial gap

BUT WE NEED PARA­CHUTE PAY­MENTS

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

One point sep­a­rated Wolves, Hud­der­s­field and Black­burn Rovers in 20th-22nd spots in the Cham­pi­onship as the week­end be­gan. I was prompted to dis­cover that by a de­bate on talk­SPORT about the fair­ness of Pre­mier League pay­ments to rel­e­gated clubs. The ques­tion of fair­ness in the Cham­pi­onship was be­ing raised. How can clubs pos­si­bly bridge the gap be­tween League One and the Cham­pi­onship when the di­vi­sions are so vastly dif­fer­ent in their fi­nances?

The truth is it’s all an ex­cit­ing mix­ture. Bolton are push­ing for pro­mo­tion.Wolves and Black­burn could eas­ily get rel­e­gated. Both au­to­mat­i­cally pro­moted clubs from League One are sit­ting in mid-ta­ble while Hud­der­s­field are in dan­ger.

But even so, I be­lieve the money avail­able to clubs rel­e­gated from the Pre­mier League is es­sen­tial. Oth­er­wise, rel­e­ga­tion could send clubs bust be­cause of the top flight player con­tracts they carry. Bridg­ing the di­vide isn’t easy, but it is pos­si­ble.

Charlton and Sh­effield Wed­nes­day prove that. The fact is that the Pre­mier League give their clubs enough money to at­tract top play­ers from around the globe. That cre­ates a great en­ter­tain­ment prod­uct that peo­ple want to watch.

Re­ward

If no rel­e­ga­tion pay­ments were made, clubs would have to more pru­dent. Fewer top play­ers would be here. Foot­ball qual­ity would re­duce. The Pre­mier League would at­tract smaller view­ing au­di­ences. TV monies would shrink. It would be a vi­cious cir­cle.

Of course clubs lower down the lad­der will al­ways want a big­ger slice of the ac­tion. And of course those at the top will seek to re­tain the bulk.

But none of us can af­ford to ig­nore the sim­ple fact that the top class foot­ball at­tracts the au­di­ences and the bulk of the re­ward will al­ways stay there.

It is how it is and the key is to build a foot­balling mo­men­tum that means you can win de­spite the dis­ad­van­tages. That is part of the chal­lenge. That is the op­por­tu­nity.

I have al­ways fought for more op­por­tu­nity for hard work­ing smaller clubs. That is the big­gest area of in­equal­ity in foot­ball, in my opin­ion. It al­ways seems crazy to see four clubs move be­tween League One and League Two each year but only three clubs mov­ing be­tween League One and the Cham­pi­onship, and just two be­tween League Two and the Con­fer­ence.

I think it would really liven up com­pe­ti­tion if four clubs moved be­tween all leagues each year. There would be far more fo­cus and con­cen­tra­tion through­out all leagues then. The dan­gers would be so much more real and the op­por­tu­ni­ties so much greater.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

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