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Clarke: No split in leagues

Fri 30th Apr 2010 | Money & Finance

Football League chairman Greg Clarke has denied there is a major split between the Championship and Leagues One and Two after a move to double parachute payments for clubs relegated from the top flight ended in deadlock.

Fears the change being proposed by the Premier League - which would see payments rise from £24million over two seasons to £48million over four years - would affect the balance of competition led to an impasse at a meeting of the 72 Football League clubs yesterday.

Clarke told BBC Five Live: "I wouldn't say there was a split, I would say there was a difference of opinion.

"For example, there is a higher propensity among the Championship to accept this deal but they still have reservations about it."

Clarke was cautious about the possible implications and added there would be further discussion.

He said: "It may distort competition and we need to understand that more.

"Some of the regulation changes may have an economic impact and the clubs want clarity on that and we have got to engineer a consensus and try and move ahead.

"I think there has been an acceptance within English football for nearly 20 years that parachute payments are a fact of life.

"The main issue here is not a fundamental dissatisfaction with the offer, the main issue is there are certain areas that need clarification and other areas we need to discuss."

It is understood Championship clubs were broadly in favour of the increase but those in Leagues One and Two generally against.

A Football League spokesman confirmed the meeting ended without approval being given: "Our clubs have had a full and frank discussion of the Premier League's parachute payment and solidarity proposals.

"Football League clubs did not approve the proposals as they stand and have mandated the board and executive to seek clarification of a number of issues."

One Championship club chairman told Press Association Sport there had been a general split between Championship sides and the rest at the meeting but insisted there was no danger of a breakaway forming.

He said: "Understandably the Championship clubs were in favour because it means a lot more money for them but the League One and Two sides are worried it will create a big gap.

"But there is no appetite for a breakaway - we need to sort this out between ourselves."

The change in parachute payments is part of a proposed new solidarity package paid by the Premier League to the Football League.

Under the proposal, clubs in the Championship who do not get parachute payments would receive £2.3million a season, League One sides £325,000 and League Two sides £250,000. Under the current package Championship sides receive between £1.4million and £0.75million.

The parachute payments would be £16million for each of the first two seasons and £8million for each of the next two.

There are also concerns the change could lead to a two-tier Championship with the relegated clubs given a huge advantage over those who have not been in the Premier League in the previous four years.

The Premier League are keen to push through the changes to satisfy a number of chairman of mid-ranking top flight clubs who fear that relegation would have a devastating financial effect.

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