The EFL Are Not Impressed With Latest Premier League Failure

The Premier League meeting on Monday had been billed by some in the media as almost a ‘do or die’ moment for top flight clubs to thrash out and strike an agreement on English Football League funding, but rather predictably, squabbles over how the new pay deal would be structured, saw them again fail to reach an agreement.

This latest meeting was one of many where Premier League clubs had failed to reach an agreement on exactly how they were going to fulfil their financial obligations further down the English pyramid, and at the beginning of the month of March, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer had used her speech at the FT Business of Football Conference to warn that if there was much more dithering on the deal, the Government’s new Independent Football Regulator would ultimately impose one.

Describing the continuing lack of agreement as a ‘setback’ the EFL’s statement went further, stating that the Independent Regulator was now ‘more important than ever’ following on from the Premier League’s ‘repeated failure’ to put forward a suitable new offer and their inability to make positive progress, despite a new offer having been expected on numerous occasions now. Those fans who use a budget friendly entry for gambling probably will not be that surprised that talks have stalled yet again here.

The fall out from the latest failure to strike an accord is simply intensifying matters now, and the topic again came up in Parliament with Labour calling on the Government to finally introduce the new Football Governance Bill that was promised last year, so the Independent Regulator could actually be established and bring these funding issues to a close, but despite reiterating their commitment to do just that the legislation was still to be tabled ‘shortly’ and that will not give EFL clubs much piece of mind given the current uncertainty.

When that is added to the fact that it is speculated that some clubs in the top flight are thought to be prepared to take legal action if they are forced to pay more broadcast money to the lower divisions, the splits and rifts that have already developed could potentially magnify and if any dispute does go the legal route, it would naturally become far more bitter, not least it could realistically drag on for a number of years.

Executive chairman of League Two side Tranmere Rovers, and the former chief executive of the Football Association itself, Mark Palios, probably sums up the thoughts of many in the lower divisions of the game, as he stated it was a ‘classic example’ of the game not being able to govern itself as there are too many vested interests involved, and ultimately that the PL have had enough opportunities to reach an agreement in line with their obligations, so it is time for the Regulator to step in and dictate what happens moving forward.

Fans themselves will probably remain unconvinced about the importance of the Regulator here, again the legislation is still yet to be tabled in Parliament, so that is absolutely not a quick fix here for non top flight clubs who are simply looking for some clarity, understanding and an ability to more appropriately financially plan moving forward. But it has already been well stated that the Regulator had not been designed with these decisions in mind anyway, as the Government had always intended that issues such as this should be resolved by clubs and the authorities themselves.

We shall simply have to see what the next few weeks bring, but as things stand there seems to be no new date for a further meeting, and PL clubs seem to want to now sort out their profit and sustainability rules first, before completing the New Deal plans with the EFL. After months of talks surrounding the EFL deal, quite why their priorities have changed now has surprised many in the game.

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