European Super League back in three years with different format, new chief executive tells FT
The Football League’s announcement of a new plan for the 2017/18 season has left many fans – including many from the Premier League – unhappy.
The EFL wants to scrap the division system and introduce a new 24-team league, with automatic promotion and relegation between League One and League Two, plus a maximum of 18 teams per division. It could not be any worse.
The chief executive of one of the league’s main sponsors, the automotive-parts maker O’Neill, has admitted that the plan represents the “end of football”, arguing that a single 12-team league is ideal.
At present we have 24 Championship clubs competing for four or five places in the Premier League (a format that has been in place since 2003/04). That is the only way to play in Europe. To me that’s still a level playing field.
But there is no need to get rid of the Championship. Our model works fine. We have six teams in the Premier League (it’s one team too many – I’ve got that fixed). That’s quite good. The Premier League is always going to have a level of quality; it doesn’t ever get any better.
The EFL and its former chairman, David Bernstein, argue that the current situation was created by a flawed TV deal between the Premier League and Sky Sports, which sees them control around 80% of the market.
The EFL is adamant that a new structure needs to be put in place, and it has offered three different ideas. First, a division. Second, an 18-team league, with automatic promotion and relegation between League One and League Two. And the third idea involves a 24-team league.
The chairman of the Football League has played down any suggestion that the league plans might threaten the Premier League’s dominance.
I’d like to be the first person to congratulate the chief executive of a major sponsor on a job well done, but unfortunately it’s not that simple.
The EFL is going forward with its plans. The TV money is too great for the Premier League to ignore. The Premier