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David Sullivan blasts Championship owners

David Sullivan blasts Championship owners

David Sullivan-West Ham-Chairman

West Ham chairman David Sullivan blast Championship owners

West Ham Joint Chairman David Sullivan has blasted the EFL and Championship club owners in remarks quoted in the Sun newspaper

Sullivan told the red-top tabloid: “The flaw in the system is the Championship. These clubs are having financial problems because they’re paying too high wages and agent fees and some have managers on £1MILLION a year. If you look at Serie B [Italy’s second tier], the managers don’t earn that nor are players on £30,000, £40,000 a week!

“If the EFL can’t work with the funds we give them now, what suggests they can work with another £50m or £100m?

“They should manage their finances better and stop paying silly money.

“But they don’t want to because they’re competing to get into the Premier League.

“If we give to the EFL what they want, in five years we’ll be exactly where we are today.”

 “Some EFL owners are richer than those in the Premier League.

“Yet some clubs have got into trouble because their owners have gone for promotion but got fed up.

“Then there’s my old club, Birmingham. They sacked a good manager, John Eustace, when they were on the verge of the play-offs to bring in a flagship name in Wayne Rooney. It messed it up.

“Why should we subsidise their incompetence?”

Share of broadcast deal

Currently, a relegated Premier League club receives £55m in their first season in the Championship, another £45m for the second and, if that team was in the Premier League for more than a year before relegation, £20m in the third.

The Premier League pays out £1.6billion in total over the current three-year broadcast rights cycle.

This figure includes the £220million the league gives to clubs relegated from the Premier League in parachute payments every season. The EFL receives roughly £350m in total from the Premier League while the £1.6bn figure also includes funds given to the National League, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the League Managers Association, the Football Foundation, the Football Supporters’ Association and various charities such as Kick It Out.

David Sullivan claims Ipswich should be used as a model in the Championship.

He added: “They’re a flag bearer for everything that’s good.

“They’ve done it within their budget.

“They’re a well-supported club, which helps. But then look at Bradford, who’re getting almost 20,000 in League Two and cannot do better on the pitch.

“There’s Stoke, who could go down to League One with one of the richest owners.”

Sullivan added: “In the Premier League, if you’re on TV it’s £900,000-a-game but drops to £100,000 in the Championship.

“Our sponsors give us £10m a year — but that’d fall to £1m. Total income drops by 75-80 per cent.

“Some players you go down with are assets — for example Maddison.”

“But you have others who’ve got injured or aren’t in-form and you’re paying them £100,000-a-week. You can’t give these players away.

“You might have paid £30m for a player on a five-year deal, he’s had a disastrous season and you’re forced to get him off the wage bill by releasing him for nothing. That’s £24m written off!

“You can’t put relegation clauses in their contracts that get them to drop their pay by 75-80 per cent.”

Massive overheads

“Around half of the Premier League teams would not take on overheads in a bid to compete with top clubs.”

“It’s going to cost £10m-a-year with 50 staff to run this Quango. They’ll operate from home three days a week because they can’t get the Civil Service to work.”

Sullivan says he fears if the Premier League pays more money, the gap between the clubs who have qualified for Europe and those who have not will widen.

If they want another £100m-a-year, the top clubs want everyone to contribute the same, while the rest want those in Europe to pay more. You need 14 teams to agree — that’s unlikely.

“So it ends up being divided equally.  If you take £5m off Manchester City,  it’s not much. If you take that from a bottom club, it’s significant.

“There’ll be a bias to big sides when you’re trying to make it competitive.


Chairman blast false reports

On the subject that Premier League clubs pay £2 billion per season on wages, Sullivan replied:

That figure is exaggerated. We don’t pay £100m-a club more.

“I accept we overall pay higher but in Italy they’ve 28 per cent top-rate tax, Portugal 25 per cent. Here it’s 45.

“It’s easier sometimes for them to attract top players.

“But we have a more competitive league because there are more clubs who can pay higher wages.

“In Spain, it’s Real Madrid and Barcelona. In Scotland, Rangers and Celtic.

“Here, you’ve got Newcastle and Aston Villa breaking into those top places.

“There’s not a successful business in the world which is forced to pay money to their competitors.

“We could damage the Premier League — which is the golden goose.

“If that happens, we won’t get the  TV money we do, everything declines and we won’t have the cash to filter down anyway.

Sullivan added “I love the EFL and the lower leagues and fully understand all the problems these clubs have.

“When Dagenham were in trouble, we played a midweek friendly during the season so they could raise revenue from the game. We also used their ground for the women’s team so they could get all the catering money and such like.

“I value our pyramid system and the grassroots of our game.”


Final warning

Premier League clubs have been given a final warning to reach a financial deal with the EFL – or have one imposed upon them.

Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, spelt out the ultimatum to the 20 top flight clubs to get their act together or the regulator will do it.

Premier League clubs met in London last month to try and broker a new £900m agreement with the EFL but nothing was voted on after ten clubs including West Ham indicated they would not vote for it. The other clubs rejecting the deal are Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Wolves, Nott’m Forest, Crystal Palace, and Bournemouth.

An independent regulator for English football is imminent after the government confirmed plans to put a bill before parliament under which clubs could be fined up to 10% of revenues if they breach agreed conditions.

The long-awaited football governance bill was published last week and defines the powers of the regulator according to three objectives: “to improve financial sustainability of clubs, ensure financial resilience across the leagues, and to safeguard the heritage of English football”.


About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

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