English football has once again been hit with the threat of a breakaway by some of its biggest clubs, this time in the second-tier Championship.
15 of the division’s 24 clubs have written to the EFL’s interim chairwoman Debbie Jevans to warn that they would take “drastic action” if the body struck a £590m television deal with Sky Sports for the period from 2019 to 2024.
The revalation comes just weeks after Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani floated the idea of a ‘Premier League 2’, which he claimed would better represent the interests of the clubs who were being undersold by the existing domestic TV deal. The new proposal from Sky is worth £119m per season, an increase on the current £88m annual sum, but is only one tenth as much as the £1.7bn per season the Premier League draws from Sky and BT.
According to the Times, Radrizzani is one of the driving forces behind the new threat, along with his Derby County counterpart Mel Morris.
The other 13 clubs are believed to include Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City, Reading, Preston North End, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Swansea City and Birmingham City.
Clubs in the lower reaches of the division, such as Rotherham United and Millwall, are thought to be siding with the EFL.
The breakaway is unlikely, due to the opposition from the Premier League, which would have to sanction the creation of a new division. Furthermore, the EFL retains the authority to sign the contract with Sky, as alongside the nine other Championship clubs, all clubs in League One and League Two are believed to be in favour of the deal.
The stand-off, however, serves as a further demonstration of the growing sense of independence clubs now feel they have from traditional governing bodies. Last week news emerged that Europe’s biggest clubs were also planning a breakaway continental competition, outside of the restrictions of their domestic leagues or Uefa.