Football: Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani calls for 'Premier League 2' to boost coffers

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani thinks the gulf in income is too wide between clubs in the English Premier League and the second-tier Championship. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani said on Thursday (Oct 11) that it is time to create a "Premier League 2" to boost TV revenue for struggling clubs in the Championship.

The English Football League's current deal with Sky is worth almost £90 million (S$164 million) a season but will rise to £120 million a season from 2019-2024.

Championship clubs - playing in England's second tier - get the lion's share of that, as they do with the money the Premier League gives the EFL in solidarity payments, but this only adds up to about £7 million for each club.

Premier League clubs, however, get at least £100 million each from the league's domestic and international broadcast deals.

Radrizzani, who bought former English champions Leeds in 2017 and recruited mercurial Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa, thinks the gulf in income is too wide.

The Yorkshire giants are currently third in the Championship table after 12 games with 23 points having only lost one league game so far.

"The model of the Championship should be reconsidered because to keep changing owners every one, two, three years is not a fair system for the fans, for the clubs," he told the Sport Business Summit in London.

"It is really not sustainable to stay in the Championship. There are huge gaps between clubs coming down from the Premier League with parachute payments to the other teams on lower budgets. And the money generated from TV rights is small because it is split between 72 clubs (across three divisions).

"Maybe they need to consider another way to create value, Premier League 2 or something, that is sustainable even for the people who are not promoted."

Added Radrizzani: "I think we should consider that a club like Leeds, that is watched by 500,000-600,000 people live on Sky, is getting only £2-2.5 million from the league (in TV rights) and actually penalises us because we're always on TV, maybe more than 20 times. It doesn't work."

In a statement, an EFL spokesman said the Championship "remains one of the most competitive and unpredictable divisions in world football", with attendances and revenues that beat many top divisions across Europe.

He also pointed out that the clubs promoted to the Premier League in 2016-17 all stayed up last season, while those relegated did not bounce back to the top flight.

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