Everything Rick Parry just said about the major changes looming in the EFL - and what it means for Middlesbrough

The big EFL changes - and how they could affect MiddlesbroughThe big EFL changes - and how they could affect Middlesbrough
The big EFL changes - and how they could affect Middlesbrough | Getty Images
Rick Parry has proposed a number of key changes to the EFL – and they could have a major impact on Middlesbrough.

Parry, the current EFL chair, was asked to give evidence to a parliamentary committee as they looked to discover the true extent of the damage caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

And when quizzed by MPs, Parry discussed a number of key changes which could soon be coming to the EFL.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

While admitting short-term aid was a must as clubs look to find their way through the current crisis, Parry was keen to ensure that the EFL take a longer-term view.

“We need a rescue package, I completely agree with that, but at the same time we need to address the long-term as otherwise we'll be back into problems in two to three years” he said.

“The two need to go hand-in-hand, but absolutely with heading for a £200million shortfall by September, that does need a rescue.

“We need hope, we need a plan and we need some clarity on the longer-term future. We can't just go from one bailout to another bailout, we have to look at the structure and assess it root and branch.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So what changes could be coming, and what would it mean for Middlesbrough and fellow Championship clubs? We take a look:

PARACHUTE PAYMENTS

Parry pulled no punches in his assessment of the current parachute payment scheme, which sees clubs relegated from the Premier League given up to three years’ worth of payments in a bid to help address the drastic drop in broadcast income experienced when teams drop out the top flight.

For the EFL chairman, this is a flawed model – and one which hands an unfair advantage to a number of Championship sides.

He said: “I touched on parachute payments, which I feel are an evil which needs to be eradicated because we have six clubs in the Championship in receipt of parachute payments giving them an average of £40m a club.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The other 18 clubs get £4.5m each. They are then struggling to try and keep up.”

Middlesbrough, of course, have been beneficiaries of this scheme in recent years after dropping out the Premier League.

Payments can top £40million per club, per season – and Parry believes this income from the top flight needs to be distributed in a more fair and equitable manner.

The result would hopefully be a more competitive second tier, with clubs having to rely less upon an injection of funds from their owners if they are unable to rely on parachute payments.

DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Directly liked to parachute payments is the distribution of money paid to all 71 EFL clubs from the Premier League.

Currently, League One and League Two clubs receive small solidarity payments from the top flight which, while welcomed by Parry, could now be re-thought.

He feels such a discussion is long overdue.

“I think what we need is a complete reset,” said Parry.

“We do need to look at the redistribution of the revenues.

“Lower down, the solidarity money is welcome but it becomes very small. I do think there is a need for a reset.

“I wouldn't call it a bail-out, I'd call it a restructuring or a re-thinking. For me, it's overdue and necessary.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This could see more income diverted away from the Championship and into the lower echelons of the EFL.

SALARY CAPS

Championship clubs already have to abide by Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, so salary caps may not be introduced to the second tier in the short-term.

But in League One and League Two, it looks inevitable that some form of salary cap will be introduced in the near future.

Parry was at pains to point out, though, that there will be no ‘maximum wage’ imposed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think salary caps, cost controls are absolutely essential. There's a lot of debate going on about that at the moment.

“We're not reimposing a maximum wage.

“We're not capping at an individual level, what we're talking about is the amount that clubs would have to pay, and then within that they would have the discretion to pay players whatever they wanted to pay them.

“Capping individual wages would, I'm almost certain, be illegal.

“We're looking at some sort of cost control that would limit the amount clubs would be able to spend.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The impact on Championship clubs will likely be limited, given they are already subject to stringent financial controls. Whether these are tightened remains to be seen.

SQUAD SIZES AND LOAN REFORMS

As well as imposing a salary cap, clubs could also be limited in the number of players they are allowed in their squad each season.

That could see a relaxation of loan rules, allowing Championship clubs to hand opportunities to promising Premier League talent.

“I am a big believer in restricting squad sizes and I think particularly in the lower leagues, it is being debated at the moment” said Parry.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The other thing it does which dovetails with Premier League and FA thinking is that it enables us to reform the loan system. One of things we're keen to obtain from FIFA, which might take some persuading, is a flexibility on youth loans, being able to take players on short-term loan.

“There's a great concern within the FA at the lack of opportunities for developing talent, we can provide ample opportunities for competitive

“So perhaps smaller squads of professionals augmented by up and coming talent from up and above, helps us economically and the Premier League.”