Premier League threaten to cut Championship clubs from rescue package

Premier League threaten to cut Championship clubs out of proposed rescue package in move that may leave the EFL with a £190m shortfall

  • There is a growing resistance from Premier League clubs to help the second tier 
  • The top flight is threatening to cut Championship teams from a rescue package 
  • The Premier League are willing to give a series of short-term loans worth £60m
  • Row comes amid informal talks in the Championship about an EFL breakaway

The Premier League are threatening to cut Championship clubs out of their proposed rescue package, leaving the EFL with a potential shortfall of £190million.

Sportsmail has learned that this week’s talks between the Premier League and EFL focused primarily on the top-flight providing a bailout for clubs in League One and League Two amid a growing resistance to helping out the Championship.

While a final settlement has not been agreed, it is understood that the Premier League are willing to provide a series of short-term loans to cover lost gate receipts in the bottom two divisions that could total £60m by the end of the season – significantly less than the £250m the EFL are asking for.

The Premier League are threatening to cut Championship clubs out of their rescue package

The Premier League’s tough stance on the Championship is due to their reluctance to support the top flight’s curtailment proposals, introduce salary caps and back their demands for unregulated access to foreign players after Brexit.

Bailing out League One and League Two to preserve the status quo in the EFL would also make it harder for Championship clubs to pursue plans to break away that have gathered momentum during the Covid-19 crisis.

Amid much politicking the biggest bailout sticking point is how to deal with curtailment.

There is a growing resistance among top-flight clubs to help out the Championship financially

Premier League clubs are insisting that the Championship sign up to a proposal that there will be no promotion or relegation unless 75 per cent of fixtures are completed in both divisions.

Given Championship clubs play eight more games and are at greater risk of Covid due to less stringent testing, agreeing that threshold is proving problematic.

The bailout row comes amid growing informal talks in the Championship about breaking away from the rest of the EFL, with the Premier League’s stance unlikely to be a coincidence.

The 20 elite clubs will discuss the issue at their next shareholders meeting on Tuesday before making a formal offer to the EFL.

The EFL are seeking a £250million bailout to cover lost ticket revenue across all three divisions

While the EFL are seeking a £250m bailout to cover lost ticket revenue in all three divisions there is opposition among Premier League clubs to helping out those in the Championship on a matter of principle.

The Premier League have imposed a series of conditions on EFL clubs ahead of any rescue package, which it is clear that many in the Championship are unable or unwilling to meet.

As well as curtailment the reluctance of second-tier clubs to limit spending via a salary cap despite racking up combined losses of £600m-plus last year is a bone of contention. The Premier League are unhappy that salary caps were barely discussed at a meeting of the Championship clubs this week. Clubs in League One and League Two have agreed to bring in salary caps of £2.5m and £1.5m respectively this season.

Smaller clubs have no problem with the Premier League’s demands for support in their fight with the FA for unfettered access to global talent after Brexit, as it is unlikely to affect them.

The bailout row comes amid informal talks in the Championship about a shock EFL breakaway

The Premier League want the ability to sign 18- to 21-year-olds from anywhere in the world after Brexit, whereas the FA are seeking to restrict such signings in an ongoing battle which could impact Championship clubs. If top-flight clubs are able to recruit globally it is feared they will be less likely to shop in the Championship, a major source of revenue for tier two.

Another source of tension is the practice of stadium sale and leaseback schemes, creating potential issues for the Premier League in the event of clubs who exploit the loophole being promoted. Aston Villa’s sale of Villa Park to a company controlled by owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens was cleared by the Premier League after an inquiry this year, but top-flight clubs want the deals banned.

The Premier League have also made the point to the EFL that they already give solidarity payments (Championship clubs get £5m a season, League One £700,000, League Two £500,000) and parachute payments between £15m and £45m depending on when relegation happened.

Of the 24 Championship clubs Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford, Stoke, Swansea, Huddersfield and Cardiff will all receive additional parachute income this season, and there is little appetite to give them any more.




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