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Julian Knight asks Premier League and EFL to provide updates on bailout talks


Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chair Julian Knight has warned Premier League and EFL bosses they will be expected to provide regular public updates on how bailout talks are progressing.

The Premier League is in negotiations with the EFL over a financial package to ensure no clubs go out of business due to the coronavirus pandemic, though an agreement has not yet been reached.

Knight, the Conservative MP for Solihull, chaired Tuesday’s meeting, during which Premier League chief executive Richard Masters maintained there can be no “blank cheque” made out to the EFL.

Meanwhile, EFL chairman Rick Parry hopes a deal can be agreed by the end of the month.

Knight made it clear the committee is determined to keep abreast of developments, which they will then make public to keep football fans updated on the progress.

“As a committee we had you in front of us six months ago, there hasn’t really been a great deal of movement since then,” Knight said.

“You are seemingly stuck in terms of the rescue package and you are not willing to divide out League One and League Two at this stage, which I would strongly urge you to do, if you cannot come to an agreement over the Championship.

EFL chairman Rick parry is hopeful a deal can be brokered with the Premier League

EFL chairman Rick Parry is hopeful a deal can be brokered with the Premier League (House of Commons/PA)

“So what we are going to do is write to both of you every seven days and we are going to ask you what meetings you are having, what conversations you have had and also what engagement you are having via Government ministers and their representatives.

“We will put that correspondence on social media so the world can see the efforts that you are making as organisations to come to a conclusion.

“We will start that next week, and hopefully we won’t have to write too many letters because hopefully you will be able to come to an agreement in double-quick time, particularly as we know that 10 clubs can’t make payroll.”

In the wake of Project Big Picture, the Premier League is carrying out its own strategic review.

Masters stressed “change is coming” while also confirming the Premier League would be “changing direction” away from the controversial pay-per-view approach.

The Premier League’s proposal to the EFL “goes to the heart of the problem” and is “in line with Government policy on how it deals with other sectors”, Masters told the meeting.

The Premier League chief executive added: “We believe we are stepping up and helping the pyramid of football, we have yet to reach an agreement with Rick (EFL chairman Rick Parry) but I am confident we can do that.

“I don’t think our proposals are pitiful. We can make money available now to clubs that need it and we can work with the EFL to ensure that funds were going to the right places to ensure clubs don’t suffer distress or get to the point of administration.

“We are huge supporters of the pyramid and understand its importance.”

EFL chairman Parry is also remaining optimistic over the ongoing dialogue.

“We would very much like to come to a deal with the Premier League,” he said.

“It was our League One and League Two clubs last month who, in a gesture of solidarity, said they did not want to abandon the Championship, they wanted a deal for the league as a whole, which was commendable.

“The Premier League has now said it is prepared to consider the Championship, so I think we can now move forward on that basis.

“We have club meetings later this week… We are committed to resolving it – where there is a will, hopefully there is a way.”