EFL chairman Rick Parry says it is “absolutely fundamental” that a new independent regulator has the power to impose a financial settlement for English football. Parry has confirmed he has held “positive” talks with the Premier League and the Football Association over the sport’s future.
However, there has been little progress over the EFL’s wishes for a greater share of the top-flight’s wealth, and the abolition of ‘parachute payments’. Former Liverpool chief executive Parry is convinced the regulator is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a proper reset, secure the sustainability of our clubs for the long-term and build upon these community partnerships”.
But Parry is adamant the regulator must have power over the release of more money to the wider game or the sport will have a “major problem”. “Football has a huge opportunity, and if it doesn’t grasp that chance then we have a major problem,” said Parry. “This isn’t tinkering, this isn’t about a few more crumbs on the table.”
The regulator’s powers would include sanctioning clubs who break financial rules, introducing a new owners’ test and legislation to give fans more say in the running of the game. Former sports minister Tracey Crouch’s in depth review of the game, which was endorsed by the government last year, also focused on financial redistribution, suggesting “more support from the Premier League to the pyramid…” via a solidarity transfer levy.
The Government’s plans for the legislation are expected to be revealed later this month, with the EFL looking for a 25 per cent share of pooled broadcast revenue with the Premier League. “We are not sitting here saying ‘it’s our 25 per cent or nothing’, but equally we think we’ve been sitting at the negotiating table patiently for 18 months,” Parry toldthe BBC.
“We are not going to negotiate against ourselves. We have no negotiating leverage because of the financial disparity. We don’t really have an awful lot to trade. We have a lot to talk positively about in terms of development pathways, increasing loan opportunities. It would cost the Premier League about an extra £300m [a year]- that’s eight per cent of their wage bill – their wage bill is double every other league in Europe.
“So it’s not going to damage the Premier League. We’re not in the business of killing the ‘Golden Goose’. This must not be mischaracterised as hand-outs. This is sustainability of the game. And why does it matter? The importance of clubs within their communities is absolutely essential. So it has been talked about for long enough. Let’s move on and get it right.
“If we don’t have a rethink we’ll have another Bury and be back at square one. Sustainability requires better regulation, but equally important is redistribution, because we can demonstrate two-thirds of our clubs are insolvent. This isn’t about horse-trading over percentages – we have two ‘cliff edges’.”