Leeds owner calls for a Premier League Two to replace Championship

• Andrea Radrizzani says Championship is unsustainable
• Radrizzani claims lack of cash leads to crisis and takeovers

The Leeds owner, Andrea Radrizzani, has called for a Premier League Two, saying the Championship does not make enough TV money for the division to be sustainable, which condemns its clubs to repeated crisis and takeovers.

The Championship is blighted, he said, by EFL money being too little and shared with clubs in Leagues One and Two, and the “huge gap” with clubs relegated from the Premier League benefitting from multimillion-pound parachute payments. Radrizzani, who took over Leeds in January 2017 and claims to have received and turned down takeover offers for the club, said fellow chairmen, who he did not identify, agree a reconstruction is needed.

“I think the model of the Championship should be reconsidered, because the turnover of owners is not really a healthy system,” Radrizzani said at the Leaders Sport Business Summit in London. “It is not sustainable to stay in the Championship. This model, and also the small money they [the EFL] generate from TV rights, split between 72 clubs, maybe they need to reconsider, and consider another way, to create a Premier League Two or something else that can be sustainable.”

Deloitte’s analysis of Championship clubs’ accounts for 2016-17 found 19 out of 24 had made losses. Radrizzani also argued a big, popular club like Leeds suffers in the Championship.

“We should concede that a club like Leeds that is watched by 500,00 to 600,000 people live on Sky is getting from the league only £2m to £2.5m [TV income] and are actually penalised, because we are more than 20 times on TV. Maybe we should reconsider the system because it doesn’t work.”

Radrizzani said he does respect the league’s financial fair play rules, which limit a club’s losses to £13m per season but argued they did not make the Championship sustainable: “It’s difficult to be in a league where we make losses because there is not enough income generated from media rights,” he said. “So I think all the clubs should open a discussion to see how we can change this league so it’s sustainable – and [so we] don’t have a crisis every two years with every club going bankrupt or changing ownership.”

The desire of Championship clubs to share in the Premier League’s vast TV deals has been raised regularly in the years since the First Division clubs broke away to form the Premier League in 1992. It was last rejected most publicly after the late Bolton chairman, Phil Gartside, raised the idea 10 years ago.

The EFL responded to Radrizzani’s comments with a statement emphasising the improved TV deal worth £600m over five years from next season and the £4.6m “solidarity” payments to each Championship club from the Premier League. “The Championship remains one of the most competitive and unpredictable divisions in world football,” the statement said.