English Football League (EFL) chairman Rick Parry has downplayed predictions of bankruptcies among clubs due to the coronavirus crisis, emphasising his determination to emerge from the pandemic with league membership unaffected.
Parry, 65, has however warned against complacency, stressing his belief that the ongoing crisis is an opportunity to implement changes to “not sustainable” salary caps and “inequitable” parachute payments.
“Our aim is to get through this crisis, not just in terms of the next few months, but the next year, the next two years, with 72 clubs intact,” Parry told The Times.
“I’m not subscribing to that ‘maybe 50 clubs will go to the wall’ song by any stretch of the imagination. We absolutely must not get complacent. I don’t think for one minute the virus is permanently vanished, but compared with where we were even six weeks ago, there are definitely grounds for cautious optimism.”
Parry’s priorities include altering the salary cap structure and the parachute payments to clubs relegated from the Premier League.
“Salary caps are being discussed at every level,” he said. ”We already have a salary cap in Leagues One and Two, but it is a different form of salary cap that is now being debated.
“The lottery that is the Championship, with total wages at 107 percent of turnover and losses in the hundreds of millions, wasn’t sustainable at any time, and it’s definitely not sustainable now.
“Parachute payments are divisive. It is not an equitable split. It encourages irrational behaviour from clubs who are not in receipt of parachute payments. I definitely think they should go.”
Parry also moved to dismiss suggestions that the EFL’s lower divisions could be regionalised so as to reduce travel costs, saying the idea is “definitely not on my horizon at the moment”.