Express & Star

Matt Maher: Parachute cash is still skewing game’s pyramid

An interesting few weeks lie ahead as the Premier League at long last attempts to finalise its New Deal offer to the EFL.


After years of dragging their heels, top-flight clubs are getting increasingly twitchy, conscious of the fact if they can’t reach an agreement themselves, the government will likely do it for them.

An emergency meeting is scheduled for next Thursday to further thrash out the final details of a package expected to cost the Premier League more than £900million over the next six years.

Yet even should there be a breakthrough, they then face the task of convincing the EFL to accept it.

Reports this week claimed there remains “venomous” opposition to certain aspects of the current proposals, not least the retention of parachute payments.

Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, has long called for the latter to be scrapped to help bridge the gulf between the top flight and the rest.

It is a gap which, this season in particular, feels wider than ever. Ipswich might be holding their own in the Championship’s top four but take them out of the equation and you have a scenario where the three teams relegated from the Premier League last season are more than 10 points clear of the rest.

In the top flight, meanwhile, it is a case of roles reversed. Luton might be putting up an admirable fight but without Everton’s 10-point deduction, last season’s three promoted teams would be cut adrift at the bottom.

Those who watched Southampton cruise to victory at The Hawthorns last Friday would acknowledge the Saints looked a cut above.

Yet their team still contains many of the players relegated without trace last year and should they find themselves back in the Premier League next season, you would tip them to struggle again, just as you might expect Burnley, dominant in the Championship 12 months ago but now Premier League cannon fodder, to be back in the promotion hunt next term.

If the EFL needs evidence as to how the current distribution of cash has skewed competitiveness, you won’t find better than the current league tables.