Football League breakaway threat in parachute row

Private talks have taken place among Championship clubs about a breakaway from the Football League following the decision of the lower divisions to reject the Premier League package of parachute and solidarity payments worth £400million over three years.

Feelings are running so high that there is talk of taking up the offer, worth £48m in phased payments to relegated clubs and £4.6m a year to the rest of the division, and splitting from the Football League in what would bring about a Premier League Two in all but name.

Championship clubs believe they cannot afford to turn down the doubling of their solidarity cash from the Premier League and still pursue realistic ambitions of reaching the top flight.

Tough task: New Football League chairman Greg Clarke has been given a take-it-or-leave-it deadline of May 14

The Football League board voted 5-3 in favour of accepting the offer.

Chairman Greg Clarke, independent director Ian Ritchie and Championship representatives David Sheepshanks, Karl Oyston and Keith Lamb were in support, with League Two and Three’s Lorraine Rogers, Peter Powell and Tony Kleanthous against.

The Football League have been given a take-it-or-leave-it deadline of May 14 by the Premier League to sort out their internal conflict.


Roger Draper, beleaguered chief executive of the LTA, is now shamelessly using a small improvement in British girls’ tennis to deflect attention from the Davis Cup debacle of five successive defeats, including the latest to Lithuania.

Draper, who has no intention of resigning from his £400,000-a-year contract that runs until 2013, was speaking at the Golf and Tennis show at London’s ExCel on Friday.

He trotted out statistics about the growth in grassroots tennis participation and the promising performances among the girls and said he was ‘quite happy with the progress being made’.

Meanwhile, the latest LTA mystery is how much John Lloyd was paid to keep quiet after his resignation as Davis Cup captain by ‘mutual consent’.


Boxing promoter Frank Maloney, standing for UKIP in Barking against BNP leader Nick Griffin, is upset with the BBC for twice setting up interviews with him and then cancelling.

To make it worse for publicity-hungry Maloney, who fronted UKIP’s election broadcast, the BBC have conducted chats with his Labour, Tory, Liberal Democrat, Christian Democrat and BNP rivals.


There will be a big brother presence like never before in the Olympic Park in Stratford, with around 900 CCTV cameras and supporting systems being installed in and around the 11-mile perimeter.

London 2012 say the security measure, which received planning consent last year, is essential to prevent and investigate crimes.


DJ Diddy's silent night

Silent treatment: IPL cheerleader Simon Hughes

Former Radio 1 DJ David ‘Diddy’ Hamilton, the match announcer at Craven Cottage for the last 14 years, couldn’t play his part in Fulham’s Europa League semi-final victory over Hamburg because his microphone didn’t work.

Veteran broadcaster Hamilton couldn’t get his mike fixed before kick-off on the club’s greatest night, nor get much sound out of the security box system. As a result, he didn’t call the famous goals or — even worse — introduce owner Mohamed Al Fayed’s pre-match walkabout.

‘Diddy’ has already endured being moved into the stands from his regular seat in the fourth official’s dug-out this year because Sky Sports complained it was becoming too congested.


The BBC’s decision to start the penultimate session of snooker’s World Championship final at the Crucible in Sheffield an hour later at 3pm on Monday is in danger of leading to the latest-ever finish to the tournament in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The truncated session could mean frames will be carried over into the evening climax, when up to 11 are already due to be played from 8pm.

A closely-fought match will mean the contest going well past the finishing time of the 2006 and 2007 finals, which both took until almost 1am to complete.

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