England's Rebels Earned Millions; PETER JARDINE Sifts the Lessons of the Breakaway Down South Parry and Premiership Elite Are Still Cashing In

Daily Mail (London), September 9, 1997 | Go to article overview
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England's Rebels Earned Millions; PETER JARDINE Sifts the Lessons of the Breakaway Down South Parry and Premiership Elite Are Still Cashing In


Byline: PETER JARDINE

ENGLISH clubs cleared the hurdle of a three-year ban on resigning from the Football League when the FA Premiership breakaway took place.

And the creation of an elite down south enabled top clubs to increase their income from TV by a staggering 400 per cent, opening the door to imports like Gianfranco Zola. Gianluca Vialli and Fabrizio Ravanelli.

Rick Parry, now chief executive designate of Liverpool, was a prime mover in the setting up of the Pre-miership when it was first mooted in 1991.

Originally a management consultant, he was employed to establish the new league. His message to those in Scotland is that change in itself won't alter anything - that will

anything - that will still rely on market forces.

'Our first season was 1992-93 but a lot of work had gone into it beforehand,' said Parry. 'I can't talk specifically about how it might be done in Scotland as I have no real knowledge but in England there were several hurdles which had to be cleared.

'The top clubs were determined to be in control of their own destiny and that was probably the overriding factor in the

desire for change, greater even than the prospect of maximising TV revenue.

'You had 92 clubs in the Football League in England then with all of them having different interests. The big clubs simply wanted to have their decision-making in their own hands.

'They wanted a voting structure of one vote per club which is how the Premiership operates without even the need for a Management Committee.

'A new constitution was drawn up with the Premier-ship now running on quarterly meetings at which all 20 clubs have one vote on each issue. It seems to work.' First, however, the elite had to clear the barrier of their membership of the English League and the row was heading for the courtrooms before the impasse was cleared.

'There was a rule that clubs could not resign without giving a three-year notice period,' said Parry.

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