Towards the end of last month, a former owner of a Premier League club warned that 80% of soccer clubs in England could go bust because of the pause of the current season. Simon Jordan, who was once the owner of south-east London club Crystal Palace, has never been one to mince his words, but this stark warning came after reports of players’ refusal to accept pay cuts in the current economic climate of the sport.
The term ‘bust’ is one that many soccer fans will probably relate to casino blackjack rules, whereby players must seek to avoid going over 21 to win at the blackjack tables. To use the blackjack analogy, the current situation for most EFL clubs is like being dealt 12 while the dealer’s up card is a ten. It’s almost impossible to know whether to stick or twist; and the nation’s soccer clubs are caught between a rock and a hard place at present.
Jordan said that with leagues potentially looking at behind-closed-doors action in the coming months for public health reasons, clubs will be severely affected by their inability to “generate revenue from spectators”. He added that his “meltdown” could have lasting consequences for the “sustainability of our national sport”.
Earlier this week, Jordan returned to the airwaves on talkSPORT to outline his own blueprint to resolve the economic imbalance within the English game at present. To try and redistribute the wealth generated in English soccer, Jordan believes parachute payments should be ended to clubs relegated from the English Premier League, with a salary cap imposed on all English Championship clubs too.
Jordan says that by taking back the £850 million the EPL gives in parachute and solidarity payments and instead redistributing £1.4 billion of the £8.4 billion the industry generates across the English Football League, it would boost the finances of clubs immeasurably. Jordan revealed that by dishing out 75% to the Championship, 15% to League One and 10% to League Two, broadcasting revenues for Championship clubs would more than double from £7 million to £15 million.
It would also more than “double the money in League One and League Two”. Jordan believes this measure, combined with “whacking in a salary cap” would help to bridge the gap between the Championship and the EPL, giving teams bigger revenues.
In terms of League One and League Two, there appears to be a growing appetite to void the season in its current form, primarily due to the ongoing costs that will be incurred with finishing the campaign behind-closed-doors. Reports suggest that League Two clubs have voted unanimously to end their 2019/20 season with immediate effect, promoting the current top three clubs and permitting a playoff round to determine the fourth and final promoted club. It’s not yet known whether relegation will be included in this arrangement. Nevertheless, it’s another signal that clubs in England’s lower leagues are on the financial brink if they are having to take the drastic steps of calling their season a day with just nine games remaining.
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