Football League accept revised parachute payments
The Football League has voted to accept parachute payments from the Premier League over four years instead of two.
There were fears that if an agreement was not reached, the Championship would form a breakaway division.
The Premier League reportedly planned to stop solidarity payments if the 72 clubs rejected the proposals and said it was a take-it-or-leave it offer.
Instead of £16m a year for two years, clubs relegated from the Premier League will now receive £48m over four years.
The level of parachute payment over the last three years has been in the region of £12m per season per club for two years.
It was to have risen to £16m per club per season for two seasons under the existing rules but under the new rules agreed by the clubs on Monday, relegated clubs will receive £16m per season for the first two seasons, then a further two payments of £8m per season.
At a meeting last month, the offer was rejected amid concerns that it would create a second Premier League in all but name, and make it more difficult for clubs currently in Leagues One and Two to climb up the divisions.
Clubs in the lower two leagues unanimously refused to approve the plans, even though they would boost the money each club receives from £108,000 to £325,000 in League One, and from £72,000 to £250,000 in League Two.
Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, said last week: “It’s a genuine attempt to help the Football League after our international TV rights turned out to be better than we expected.
“By doing it this way, everyone is better off, including the non-parachute clubs who would then share the Football League’s TV money between them.”
Commenting on the decision to agree to the new set of figures, a Football League spokesman said: “Following a frank but constructive meeting at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium, Football League clubs have voted to accept the Premier League’s revised solidarity and parachute payments proposals.
“Whilst many clubs expressed concerns about the proposals, their acceptance was considered the only viable way forward.
“The Football League will now work in good faith, with the Premier League, to ensure that the resulting contract and regulatory changes are good for both competitions and football as a whole.”
A minimum of 51% of the 72 league clubs – including 51% of Championship clubs – needed to agree to the proposals and Middlesbrough chief executive Keith Lamb said: “It was far enough beyond that to have it comfortable. Far enough that either the Conservatives, Labour or Liberal Democrats would have been liked the majority we got.”
This is not a perfect deal, this is a deal that, in the round, is the right thing for the Football League to do
Football League chairman Greg Clarke
Lamb also dismissed suggestion that the proposals did not favour clubs in the lower reaches of the Championship or in Leagues One and Two.
“I acted in the best interests of the Football League not necessarily Middlesbrough,” he said. “The ratio of income from the Premier League to the Championship and to divisions one and two has increased all around.
“The ratio of increase to the Championship is something like 260% whereas for divisions one and two it is well over 300%.”
Football League chairman Greg Clarke explained how the lower league clubs had been made aware of the situation throughout the discussions which spanned the entire morning.
“They asked for more information, they wanted to know how their interests would be protected and I explained to them how we would involve them in formulating our policy with respect to youth and development and youth transfers,” he said.
“They accepted that, we had a lively debate, everybody got heard and we ended up with a strong majority.
“This is not a perfect deal, this is a deal that, in the round, is the right thing for the Football League to do.
“We stuck to our position, we got some reasonable compromises agreed with the Premier League and I think this a deal that works for both parties so I don’t feel in any way hard-done by.”
The amount of money the top flight shares with the rest of the professional game has been a source of controversy since 1992 when the formation of the Premier League meant it negotiated its own broadcasting deals, ending the obligation to share its media revenues.