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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 12:08 GMT
Richmond fans Phoenix plan
Bradford chairman Geoffrey Richmond will try and keep the Phoenix League alive
Richmond will try and fan the flames under the Phoenix
Bradford City chairman Geoffrey Richmond wil rally attempts to resurrect the proposed Phoenix League.

Richmond expressed his surprise at an apparent U-turn by some Premiership club chairmen which threw out plans for the proposed Premiership Two.

Premiership chairmen voted 19-1 against a second tier to English football's top-flight - and unanimously rejected proposals to allow Celtic and Rangers to play south of the border.

Richmond is convinced that a review of so-called parachute payments - paid to soften the blow of relegation from the Premiership - turned many top-flight chairman who were previously for the idea of a Phoenix League.


At the end of the day it doesn't help those clubs in Division One and beyond at all
Bradford chairman Geoffrey Richmond

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has revealed such a review will take place.

Chairmen of the 24 Nationwide League Division One clubs will meet at Coventry on Monday.

Richmond is not prepared to let the Phoenix League die and will try and rally support.

He was surprised by the unanimous rejection of plans to allow Celtic and Rangers to play in England.

"I think it was generally thought that bringing Rangers and Celtic into the English game would add to the attractiveness of the next TV contract.

"It was an exciting idea which I think had the support of other Scottish clubs who saw a more open Scottish league without Rangers and Celtic."

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore will review parachute payments
Richard Scudamore will review parachute payments to Premiership clubs

"I'm surprised a large number of Premiership clubs that were apparently in favour, appear to have done a U-turn.

"I see there is talk of increasing the revenue regarding parachute payments.

"The driving force of the Phoenix League was that it provided a softer landing place for any relegated club.

"What now appears to be under consideration is an alternative softer landing place, and that's more monies relating to parachute payments.

"That's great for the Premiership clubs.

"But at the end of the day it doesn't help those clubs in Division One and beyond at all."

As chairman of a recently relegated club, Richmond is aware of the problems faced by those who suffer the drop from the top-flight.

"It's well documented that the vast majority of those that do come down have not been in good financial health.


The cake will be a lot smaller and so everybody will receive a smaller slice of it
Geoffrey Richmond

"When you are a club in the Premiership it's hard to plan for the future, like building a new stadium for example or offering a player a lucrative four or five-year contract.

"You don't know if you are going to be relegated at the end of the season."

One option Richmond has completely ruled out is for the Nationwide League to ask for a larger financial handout from the Premier League.

Richmond said: "You would have to be living in cloud cuckoo-land for that to happen.

"I don't want to talk down the next television deal for the Football League, but when that deal is done I think it will be largely detrimental to its 72 members.

"The cake will be a lot smaller and so everybody will receive a smaller slice of it."

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Bradford City chairman Geoffrey Richmond
"They are looking at increased parachute payments."
 VOTE RESULTS
Is the Phoenix League a good idea?

Yes
 33.65% 

No
 66.35% 

8301 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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See also:

13 Dec 01 |  Football
Premiership rejects Old Firm
29 Nov 01 |  Football
Breakaway league dismissed
28 Nov 01 |  Football
Keegan slams Phoenix plans
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