Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish admits the financial ramifications of relegation from the top flight now are “scary” and believes a Premier League 2 could be an option if the gap to the Championship continues to grow.
Premier League clubs spent record figures of £1.165 billion during this summer’s transfer window on the back of the new £5bn-plus three-year broadcast deal.
More than half of the 20 top-flight clubs smashed their existing transfer records during that time, including Palace who splashed out an initial £27 million on Liverpool forward Christian Benteke.
That came a few months after the Eagles had broken their previous biggest outlay in signing Andros Townsend from Newcastle for £13m, and is an example of the unprecedented spending that took place across the division.
However, the huge amount of money being spent on transfers and wages comes with a grave risk to clubs likely to be fighting relegation, Parish points out, with the financial disparity between the Premier League and the English Football League getting ever bigger.
And Parish believes that could yet lead to the introduction of a Premier League 2 division.
“The scary part for clubs paying big fees and wages is relegation. The parachute money only takes you so far,” he said.
“If you finish mid-table and you’re Crystal Palace, you’re going to have roughly a £130m turnover.
“But after four years in the Champion-ship, it’ll be about £15m-£16m.
“What business can really adjust to that?
“If that gulf widens, possibly you must have a Premier League 2. But a double-tier Premier League is difficult as there is a lot to consider.
“Are you connected to the rest of the Football League, for example? Because you need to keep that dream alive to sustain the scale of the game.”
The English Football League (EFL) last week ruled out the possibility of including Premier League B teams in its proposed restructure for the lower divisions.
Parish, though, believes it could be a good thing if top-flight clubs could have short-term deals with EFL outfits that would allow an increase in the amount of loan players permitted between the two sides.
“I don’t see any reason you shouldn’t enter a deal over one or two years with teams – to send over more than the permitted number you’re allowed to loan to a club and where you can affect the coaching,” he said.
“Then you could see a situation where both clubs benefit – and it will ultimately help player development and the national team as well.”
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