A meeting between ‘rebel’ chief executives has sparked fears from EFL clubs that a Championship breakaway may yet materialise.
Several second tier clubs have publicly voiced their displeasure and anger at failures by both the EFL and Premier League to hammer out terms on a financial bailout.
Rows have also ensued over broadcasting. During the 2018/19 campaign, 15 Championship clubs signed a letter to the EFL board threatening to go their own way amid disputes over a new television contract.
Now, the Telegraph reports that a secret meeting between a group of leading figures in the division took place ahead of an EFL Board meeting on Thursday.
The main source of frustration for the majority of Championship clubs is undoubtedly TV money and broadcasting, with Julian Aquilina, of Enders Analysis, recently saying that the Championship had been ‘undervalued’ in previous broadcasting rights deals.
More than ten second-tier outfits previously expressed appetite for a breakaway to secure more TV money. The current five-year TV deal is thought to be worth around £120m, which is simply incomparable to the £1.4bn carved up in the Premier League.
And as spending in the top-flight following the closure of the transfer window on Monday topped £1.2bn, some Championship executives were reportedly left ‘appalled’.
The Premier League remain reluctant in agreeing to the £250m bailout package proposed by the EFL, aimed at assisting a number of lower league clubs that have been crippled financially by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
A counter-offer from the Premier League isn’t expected to arrive until next week.
Nevertheless, while a package for League One and League Two is almost a certainty, reservations have been expressed by smaller top tier clubs that their finances roughly align themselves with ‘rivals’ in the division below under the parachute payment system.
Thus, the Premier League is expected to require guarantees that the Championship will restrict excessive wage spending.