‘Just can’t be right’ – Stoke City CEO wades into Championship FFP controversy



Stoke City’s chief executive Tony Scholes has accused some Championship clubs of being desperate to attack others over the Financial Fair Play controversy.

Stoke were among those clubs in danger of being penalised for over-spending under the FFP rules before the coronavirus crisis brought the season to a juddering halty.

Scholes, who has argued that FFP stifles the ambition of financially stable clubs like Stoke, believes the rules have bred in-fighting among Championship clubs as they chase the pot of gold at the end of the Premier League rainbow.

“The league doesn’t get the income to match its appeal,” he said, “to match the fact that it is the third highest attended league in Europe.

“So you’ve got Leeds at the top of the league and they’re on telly all the time, but they get TV income of about £3m-a-year.

“The team one place above them, Norwich, on telly maybe 12 times this year, less than Leeds anyway, they get TV income of £100m-a-year and it just can’t be right.

“Then we’ve got a set of (FFP) rules that stifle ambition and keeps clubs from investing in the club.

“The effect of that is – and this is the negative of the league at the moment – is that 12 years ago the league was very collegiate, everyone got on with each other.

“Obviously there was great competition on the pitch, but off the pitch all the clubs got on.

“What I feel now in the league is that some clubs are desperate to attack other clubs and get them punished for breaking rules and get them a points deduction.

“It’s just become a more difficult environment and I think that’s because of the financial gap that exists with the Premier League.”

Scholes, who forcefully expressed his strong views at the recent Fan Forum at the bet365 Stadium, also contrasted Stoke City today with the club which won promotion from the Championship to the Premier League back in 2008.

“We are in a better stadium, we’ve got a better training ground and a better infrastructure than we had back then,” he noted.

“But I think if you look at the other teams in the league, that probably applies across the league.

“I think the clubs are better now within the league. The clubs are in good shape and it’s the third highest attended league in Europe, which surprises most people. It’s higher than La Liga and Serie A.

“It feels like a Premier League Two and that’s no surprise because I think something like 19 out of the 24 clubs in our league have been in the Premier League at some point.”





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