Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano has called for a rethink of the football pyramid to consider the inclusion of Premier League B teams, and has described the EFL’s business model as “not sustainable enough”.
All eyes are on the Premier League to come up with a rescue package for EFL clubs struggling for survival amid the coronavirus pandemic which has deprived them of matchday income.
The Government has insisted the top-flight clubs should be the ones to look after the EFL, resisting calls for a state bailout.
"We've dealt well with 19/20, but we're now at half time. We'll face new challenges & things might get worse before they get better."— LEADERS Business (@LeadersBiz) October 7, 2020
The Premier League is in talks with the EFL over a bailout and it is understood they are looking for assurances over how the money is spent, with Championship clubs spending 107 per cent of revenue on wages in the 2018-19 season.
Soriano believes this is a good time to look at the structure of the English football pyramid as a whole, including how young talent at the top clubs is given a platform to perform on.
“One of the challenges is the EFL (is) a business that is not sustainable enough,” he said at LeadersWeek.direct.
“They were discussing ways to improve it, they were discussing salary caps, now they were sort of nudged, almost pushed, to solve the existing problems because of the crisis.
“It’s a good opportunity for the different elements of the football business to get together and solve these problems.
“There are other problems, the challenges of developing players in England where B teams are not allowed, we have a development gap of boys that are 17 or 18, they don’t find the right place to develop and for example they are taken from us by the German teams who try to sell them back to us for a price which is 10 times what they paid.
“This is mad, right? This is something we needed to solve and now maybe the crisis will give us the opportunity and will nudge us to get together and solve these issues.”
Soriano, who said it was “extremely disappointing” that the Premier League had opted to revert to three substitutes for 2020-21, also defended his club’s spending in the summer transfer window.
City signed defenders Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias for a reported fee of over £100million combined, but Soriano said: “Ultimately, if you believe like we believe that Covid is just a period of time, and that we have to carry on with our business, then we have to carry on with our business.
“We believe that revenues will come back. The team is the engine of our business – if we don’t play good football, we have no business. We can’t negate that, we can’t avoid that.
“We have to take some risks and we believe that the risks we have taken are very well measured.
“I know the media just portrays the gross spending on players but you have to look at net spending. We sold a player to Bayern Munich, Leroy Sane, for 49m (euros). We then signed a player, Ferran Torres, for 23m (euros).
“Sometimes these things are out of context. But remember, we need to continue playing good football and if we need a central defender, we need a central defender.”
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