Blog Archives

Government Should Back BSP 3 up 3 Down – its Fair and Blue Square

With Luton Town,  Wrexham,  Stockport County, Hereford United Mansfield Town,  Macclesfield, Lincoln City and Grimsby Town counting the cost of the great League 2 and BSP divide the Coalition Government needs to intervene in the interests of the free market and a sense of fair play in the people’s game. Platini and EUFA may be centring on solvency at the very top but an extra place in the BSP would see a genuine free flow and redistribution of wealth throughout the whole of our national game. It may also help with criticisms over the National sides technique and spell the end of  a culture that seeks to protect the undeserving at the expense of the ambitious and the brave,  via the stifling bottleneck of the 2 up 2 down blockade.  

Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs



Clearly the biggest stumbling block to any deal over increased promotion and relegation places between the football league and the BSP, will be the TV and solidarity payment fund.  However despite support from a few League 2 clubs they are not the ones who will have the lion’s share of the say.   Although all 72 teams have a golden share, the voting blocks follow the money and previous actions suggest the Championship clubs will not put the feelings of League 1 and 2 very high on their list of priorities.  Even  the bankers and life’s  financial power brokers, buckle when the media finally sees the need for a freer flow and a long overdue sense of fair play. 

The vote over 3 up and 3 down did not happen in Portugal but it will happen next season in time for a 2013/14, when the game will be awash with money like never before.  This will put the needy or should that be the complacent and greedy back in the spotlight.  Back in 2002 a vote saw a second promotion place awarded – via a play-off – with part of the proceeds going to the Football League. With EUFA so heavy on fair play and the need for a much overdue redistribution of wealth within the game you feel public and media pressure, within the additional backdrop of austerity and a questioning of all of life’s pyramids; could well see an easier flow of clubs and capital between the lower reaches of the game.  The dream after all could tempt more venture capitalists who have seen Fleetwood and Crawley prosper.  Should the subsidy of sickly clubs be allowed to block the ambition of the BSP and cause its ex-League clubs to wither and die?


In May 2010 the Football League agreed to the Premier League’s plans to bull-doze through a new, albeit improved deal across the board that saw a four year £48 million parachute payment for relegated Premier League clubs. With TV and media rights now spread over 4 years following relegation it was agreed that 55% should be retained year 1, 45% year two and 25% in years 3 & 4. Clubs would receive a ‘smoothed’ £16m in year one and two and then £8m per season in years three and four.  This is set to increase by 70% as the new TV contract, covering the 2013/14 – 2015/16 seasons, agreed this June  is worth £3.018bn, an increase of £1.25bn over the existing agreement.  


So Euro fair play ideas apart the gulf is already massive and set to grow.  Under the existing deal any Championship sides not receiving parachute payments receive £2.2m a year (up from £830k) from the solidarity deal in addition to the £2.4m they receive annually from the Football League.  


League 1 clubs now receive £325k in solidarity payments per year (up from £108k) in addition to a £650k payment from the Football League.  The deal equates to just short of a million a year.  League 2 clubs saw a big rise from £72k to £250k with the football league also pitching in £430K.  When a club falls from the League it receives a £250k parachute payment as well as half of the grass roots money in the first season, although the latter can only be used for the youth team.


BSP clubs last received a solidarity payment from the Premier League in 2009, designed to soften the blow when Setanta’s deal went west. The one-off payment of a million was spread across the 68 teams  and was worth about £25k, as against a defunct 5-year deal worth £500k per season  with 4 years still to run.  Former Setanta owner  Michael O’Rourke had stepped in with a £6.99 a month subscription service split between the broadcaster and the clubs but, although innovative it is anything but lucrative. Although Premier Sports extended their deal this time last season the silence is deafening with regard to a renewal at the time of writing.


With the divide set to grow, something needs to be done soon or clubs like Luton Town,  Wrexham,  Stockport County, Hereford United Mansfield,  Macclesfield, Lincoln City and Grimsby will wither and die.  Not because it is about free competition and survival of the fittest, no rather the self serving interest of the few.  The nature of the pyramid is one of monopoly, cartels and Cabals akin to the ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’  old boys network that has put the national and world economy on the brink . It stifles competition and the entrepreneurial spirit that made our country great. Should it therefore be allowed to persist and perpetuate the pecuniary interests that fly in the face of the sense of fair play that should be so central to the people’s game?  Surely that is worthy at least of a question or two in the House of Commons?