SPECIAL REPORT: Things must change now in the Football League or TEN clubs could go to the wall

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The annual meeting of EFL clubs usually spans several days and many cocktails. An all expense paid trip to the Algarve for Presidents, CEOs and their partners.

At this summer’s meeting, however, representatives from the country’s toughest clubs will meet at a hotel in Oxford – if the lock rules have been lifted – to remove the more stringent self-imposed rules.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the restart of football. “Durability” and “reset” have become buzzwords for homeowners in recent weeks.

Leeds Elland Road Stadium is padlocked amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

Leeds Elland Road Stadium is padlocked amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

New EFL chief Rick Parry (left) receives support from clubs starting to demand change

New EFL chief Rick Parry (left) receives support from clubs starting to demand change

On Tuesday, an agreement was reached that will see players in leagues one and two defer payment of up to 25% of their salary this month – something the clubs insisted was necessary to get them out of this crisis.

Club captains are now ready to discuss plans for May and June. But everyone involved knows it’s just a sticky coating and attention will turn to more permanent action this summer.

“Change is coming – and quickly,” predicted a managing director. Salary caps, likely to focus on team budgets and tightening financial regulations, will be high on the agenda and, for the first time in a long time, it seems that a majority consensus has been reached quickly.

The proposals have yet to be finalized, but the hope is that EFL members will vote them for an introduction in 2021, although some will argue for more time to acclimatize. Certainly, the championship, with teams on longer contracts, would need more time to realign.

Most pessimistic meeting rooms fear up to 10 clubs could disappear in a matter of months – even with EFL’s £ 50m back-up loan fund and advancing Premier League solidarity payments , part of which could be retained for even leaner periods.

Championship club spends most of its £ 7m televised money on player salary

Championship club spends most of its £ 7m televised money on player salary

Leave is plentiful and banks are reluctant to lend given the recent history of football. Many have been borrowing on future profits for years.

Bolton, Macclesfield, Southend, Oldham and even Huddersfield, who partially funded last year’s takeover with parachute payments, are struggling but the list goes on and on.

Bristol Rovers has posted debt of £ 24 million, two-thirds of which is owed to President Wael Al-Qadi and the club’s parent company, Dwane Sports. Rovers’ average attendance in Ligue 1 is 7,520, but they reported losses of £ 3.4 million last year. One president asked, “How can you go into so much debt in this division?”

Rochdale President and CEO David Bottomley said, “There are people in football who for years have too easily said yes to everything. No other industry pays its employees more than they report. “

New EFL President Rick Parry and his board of directors are enjoying strong support among clubs that are starting to demand change. Parry recently explained that the championship devotes 106% of its overall turnover to salaries.

Bristol Rovers has posted £ 24 million in debt, the majority of which is owed to club president

Bristol Rovers has posted £ 24 million in debt, the majority of which is owed to club president

Clubs can record losses of £ 39 million over a three-year period under profit and sustainability rules, which they voted for after the fury surrounding the first incarnation of Financial Fair Play. “You can’t blame the players, they get paid what the clubs offer,” said one owner. “It’s on us. There has been a collective failure in the past 20 years to get the finances under control. “

Sportsmail has been informed that Ligue 2 salary budgets dwarf those of some Scottish Premiership teams chasing Europe. One player received £ 3,500 per week to sign for a National League promotion challenger.

Contracts can be worth up to £ 6,000 a week in Ligue 2 and a bench heater in Ligue 1 – where Bury disappeared this season – brings in £ 400,000 a year before tax. The sums are quite astonishing in the championship, amounting to millions.

Sheffield on Wednesday faces misconduct penalties for the controversial sale of £ 60 million from its stadium, a move that County Derby and Aston Villa have also undertaken. “There was so much resistance from the FFP, which is why it was vague enough to be exploited,” said a Championship manager.

Portsmouth general manager Mark Catlin said: “Even admitting losses of £ 39 million is not enough for a number of clubs in this league. They have gone far beyond and must do things that, while potentially not against the rules, are against the spirit.

Sheffield owner on Wednesday charged club at Jordan Rhodes sale and subsidized wages

Sheffield owner on Wednesday charged club at Jordan Rhodes sale and subsidized wages

There is a story that Wednesday’s owner Dejphon Chansiri rated the club for selling forward Jordan Rhodes in consecutive transfer windows and then subsidized his huge wages on loan to Norwich City, who won a promotion . Back in Yorkshire, Rhodes scored in one game this season.

Chansiri rejected a £ 1.5 million offer for Keiren Westwood with the goalkeeper in the last year of his contract. Westwood signed a new two-year agreement and was again abandoned by another manager. Meanwhile, corporate ticket prices have gone up and Hillsborough is left with empty rows of stuffed boxes.

The salary of a star in the top half of the championship absorbs the majority of its annual broadcast revenue, about £ 7 million. Sunderland valued Will Grigg of Wigan at around £ 300,000 before paying £ 3 million a day of panic. Grigg, who nearly left in January, has scored a Ligue 1 goal in the past 12 months.

Former owner Massimo Cellino in Leeds saw the Thorp Arch training ground collapse while paying £ 20,000 a week and promising six-figure bonuses for simply staying in the division. Another owner has planned to reduce the academy to three teams and hire a single coach for less than £ 30,000 a year.

Massimo Cellino paid £ 20,000 a week in Leeds as facilities collapsed

Massimo Cellino paid £ 20,000 a week in Leeds as facilities collapsed

“When the tide goes out, you see everyone is a ***,” said Accrington owner Andy Holt. “He always waited for a crash. Whenever I speak to someone with a connection to the Premier League, their attitude is this: why give more money to the EFL when it will just be blown on players and agents? That’s a good point.

It’s like the owners are a bunch of crazy people playing poker in a pub after 10 pints. I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t lose a fortune. This EFL board wants to make it more sustainable. The attitude has changed.

While the championship operates under Profit and Sustainability, leagues one and two adhere to a wage cost management protocol, which has helped maintain a fair number on a uniform keel.

But Bottomley argued, “So many clubs have abused it. “

Holt went further: “You can only spend 60% of your turnover – unless you want to spend more! If you want to put money into it, you can bridge the gap. In fact, you can spend whatever you want in leagues one and two.

Sunderland valued Will Grigg at around £ 300,000 before paying £ 3 million a day of panic

Sunderland valued Will Grigg at around £ 300,000 before paying £ 3 million a day of panic

Portsmouth, fourth in Ligue 1, counteracts the trend and posted profits of 2.1 million pounds last month. “Owners who manage their clubs sustainably are suffering,” said Catlin. “The numbers are out of control and should be examined as soon as possible. The current losses that are allowed are staggering. “

Peterborough United owner Darragh MacAnthony spoke passionately about a lot of ideas, including a £ 20m fund controlled by a “football czar”.

“If clubs enter the administration, on the verge of bankruptcy because of a charlatan owner or a bad” UN, the EFL intervenes and takes over, “he said. “Take Bury. They would use a few million to run it and find new owners. They then repaid this money. If we don’t manage the clubs properly, the Czar can take over. We need to register to make sure we manage it responsibly. “

The vast majority of clubs appear to be open to salary caps, although details need to be finalized to find common ground, with promotion and relegation being a number of factors to consider.

“When the tide goes out, you see everyone is a ***,” said Andy Holt, owner of Accrington Stanley.

What is agreed, however, is that football must act to protect its holiness and tradition.

“There are so many sensible business people getting caught up in the game,” said Holt. “It’s almost like they’re writing their own obits. People call us tinplate and to a large extent it is true. I am proud of this title.

“If I had a penguin bandit in the middle of Burnley with a prize of £ 200 million, it wouldn’t be long before everyone lost everything, fighting on the streets. This is actually the final of the championship playoffs.

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