City have already budgeted for windfall

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City's windfall from the fat cats of the Premier League has already been swallowed up. City are set to receive £775,000 as their initial share of a three-year £90m “solidarity” package agreed between the Football League and the Premier League.

CHRIS LAKEY

Norwich City's windfall from the fat cats of the Premier League has already been swallowed up.

City are set to receive £775,000 as their initial share of a three-year £90m “solidarity” package agreed between the Football League and the Premier League.

But chief executive Neil Doncaster says the cash has already been budgeted for.


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The money, plus the £2m loan from new directors Andrew and Sharon Turner, were both vital components in allowing manager Peter Grant to go through the summer without being forced to sell players as City struggle to make ends meet in their first season without £7m in parachute payments.

“We certainly welcome this recognition from the Premier League of the need to redistribute some of the massive wealth in the FAPL down through to Football League clubs,” said Doncaster. “This is, of course, something we have been advocating for some time, including when we were ourselves a Premier League club.

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“However, it is important to stress this money has already been budgeted for. In the last accounting year of 2005-06 we announced a £2.5m profit on figures which included our final parachute payment of £7m.

“The results for 2006-07 are not out until later this year. But it's fair to say that this year, with wages still much higher than many Championship clubs and no parachute payments, this money from the Premier League is a vital component in our on-going efforts to keep our financial position stable.”

The £775,000 is small beer in relation to the TV money the Premiership clubs are to receive. But without it there would have been a gaping hole in Grant's spending powers, which have seen him bring in six new players on permanent deals plus one on a short-term loan - offset in part by the sales of Robert Earnshaw and Dickson Etuhu, which brought in £5m.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: “The package was unanimously voted for by the 20 Premier League clubs - the whole re-distribution package was very well received by them.

“I make no apologies for the success story that is the Premier League, but there is a responsibility that goes with that and we believe this measure both shows solidarity between us and the Football League and is a proportionate response to our success.”

The £31.8m being awarded to Football League clubs, in the first year of the package, will be made up of £22.4m in solidarity payments to clubs, and further payments of £5.4m and £4m, ring-fenced for their youth development and community programmes. Only £11.2m is guaranteed in solidarity payments to clubs in the second and third years of the agreement.

Out of the solidarity monies each League Two club will receive £68,987, with each League One club getting £103,480. For the first time at Championship level there will be a sliding scale of payments, with 12 clubs - including Norwich - each receiving £775,909, while eight of the clubs above will get payments ranging from £851,871 to £1,383,602 depending on where they finished in last season's table.

The four remaining clubs - Sheffield United, Charlton Athletic, Watford and West Bromwich Albion - will receive no solidarity benefits as each will have an £11.2m parachute payment following their relegation from the Premiership, West Brom's being in 2006.

Lord Mawhinney, chairman of the Football League, said: “We have been in conversation for some time about this - the Premier League clubs did not have to do this and we are extremely appreciative.

“The financial gap between the Premier and Football Leagues is overwhelmingly because of the success of the Premier League. I salute them for that, and any generosity that takes account of the gap is welcome.”

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