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West Ham owner opposes regulator and slams Championship clubs, fuming ‘why should we pay’

West Ham owner David Sullivan opposes the independent football regulator and slams Championship clubs, fuming ‘why should we pay’.

He strongly criticised second tier clubs that pay players £40,000 a week and managers £1 million a year. The EFL receives £130 million per season in solidarity payments from the top flight, but Premier League chiefs have failed to vote on a new six-year £995 million deal.

Sullivan, 75, argued to Sun Sport that EFL clubs or incompetent owners have accumulated debts because they do not live within their means and also refuted EFL chairman Rick Parry’s statement that the top flight pays £2 billion more in wages than the other four major European leagues.

He said, having seen Sun Sport’s column criticising his failure to agree more Premier League funding: “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.”

Sullivan then blamed owners who have proved incompetent, or decided not to put money into trying to win promotion to the Premier League.

He said: “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?”

Sullivan states that Ipswich, who are hoping to get promoted this season, should be used as a model.

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.”

EFL chairman Rick Parry hit back, saying that the presence of parachute payments creates a significant imbalance within the Championship, with the relegated club they getting a substantial amount of money in their first season, amounting to £55m.

In the second season, they are given an additional £45 million, and should the team spend more than a year in the Premier League before relegation, they receive £20m in the third season, giving a total of £120m.

A regular Championship team only receives £8.2 million per season, resulting in a total of just £24.6m over the same period.

Parry adds that those relegated benefit from substantial transfer fees, with Leicester City used as an example, having earned £92m from the sale of players James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Timothy Castagne, and George Hirst after they were relegated last summer.

Below is a graphic by posted by Sun Sport…


Sullivan said: “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.”

Sullivan said that withdrawing parachute payments would weaken top-flight competitiveness, and that promoted teams will not risk investing in their squads, with there being no buffer should they go down.

“Those clubs wouldn’t spend a penny because they’d go bankrupt as soon as they were relegated.

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

Sullivan estimates that the regulator will extract £10 million annually from the industry, while the Government considers delegating authority to an autonomous entity to supervise clubs in the top five divisions.

Their responsibility will involve determining the amount of funds that the Premier League should allocate to the EFL and National League.

Sullivan said: “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.

“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.”

EFL chairman Rick Parry dismisses what Sullivan has had to say, that the Premier League could lose their status as the best in the world.

Rick Parry argues top-flight clubs pay £2bn more wages per season, according to figures from accountants Deloitte, than Germany, Italy, Spain and France — so extra  revenue paid to the EFL would not dilute their power.

Yet Sullivan responded: “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 expresses how much he loves the EFL and non league, having helped Hornchurch financially during the Covid pandemic while West Ham also helped Dagenham & Redbridge, who were on the brink back in 2018..

He said: “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.”

SEE MORE: West Ham owner David Sullivan opposes introduction of independent football regulator

This is how fans reacted as West Ham owner opposes the independent footballer regulator and slams Championship clubs, fuming ‘why should we pay’

@Craig_Honeyman: He’s got a point … however if West Ham were relegated they would have a record EFL wage bill and pay the manager a fortune ! The model is broken. When the 3 who came down go back up and the 3 who went up come down it’s time to really worry!

@Adam_PVFC: Because the greed of the prem have made it so hard to compete its ridiculous

@timcwegener: Only ones doing that are the ones with parachute money. Bin that off and spread it amongst the others.

@jemccudden: Because what happens when teams are relegated? If you make the drop too big, teams will be bankrupt upon relegation and it won’t be possible for promoted teams to ever stay up. Very short sighted and self serving comment by him, which seems typical of PL clubs.

@boslembilly: Its league one and Two clubs that need support and by and large don’t spunk money they don’t have . Take one premier league player on 100k , subsidised by TV money income 5.2 million a year , that dwarfs my clubs whole playing budget .

@WestSussexRam: Perhaps ask him to vote against parachute payments, then. Or does that get too close to home for him?!! And what was his view on the matter when he was at Birmingham?!!

@JamesWorden85: Everyone’s reliant on someone else. Could argue that West Ham deserve less money because it’s the interest in City, Liverpool, United, etc that brings in the money for the Premier League clubs… Not the West Hams and the Bournemouths.

@freelander97: He’s right tbf. The prem should help the lower leagues but all that happens is they use it to pay players and agents more and then prem clubs end up having to pay more to buy players from the efl. Money should go into a fund to help efl clubs pay for and improve infrastructure

@wuds100: Translated = I’m a greedy bar steward and want every penny I can get, Him and the other rebels are the reason the Super League 6 get so much pushed through with the bartering of the votes.

@Bazro136: Scrap Parachute payments, split that money evenly amongst everyone in the league, give relegated clubs a max of 12 month to bring their finances down

@EthanLewendon: Bloke’s completely out of touch with how important the pyramid is. Maybe he should vote against parachute payments if he is so passionate about this. Of course, he won’t because his team could be relegated, and he would be desperate for that cash that has ruined the championship.

@JamesWAVL82: Someone tell him he could sell @WestHam and buy half an @MLS team, and then he won’t have to worry about it.

@mb107614739: David Sullivan, who’s West Ham play in a publicly owned stadium paying peppercorn rent that doesn’t even cover the costs of playing there?? That David Sullivan? 🤡

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