Robbie Savage believes good can still come out of the doomed Super League project – if the clubs involved are hit with hefty financial penalties.
Calls for sanctions against the six Premier League clubs involved are growing, with points deductions and expulsion from competitions mooted.
However, former Leicester City midfielder turned pundit Savage insists only by hitting the clubs’ billionaire owners in the pocket will the punishment fit the crime.
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And he called for the money generated to be invested lower down the pyramid to ensure the survival of clubs hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Writing in the Daily Mirror, he said: “Eye-watering fines, which could be reinvested in our national game’s infrastructure, would ensure some good comes out of a turbulent episode.
“If they coughed up, say, £100 million each, that would be £600m towards saving the pyramid.
“And if you think £100m is too steep, let’s not make the mistake of delivering a slap on the wrist or pretending oligarchs, sheiks and multi-billionaire businessmen can’t afford it.
“That money would replenish areas of the game hardest-hit by the pandemic crisis, whether that’s 3G pitches at grass roots level or saving clubs on the brink of financial ruin. Parts of the game a Super League might have left to wither and die.
“Dozens of communities would benefit, and smaller clubs who face extinction because of the COVID shutdown could be reprieved.
“Clubs and leagues below the Premier League have rightly complained in the past that not enough of the game’s income filters down the pyramid. Here is an opportunity partly to redress the balance.”
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has demanded the Premier League deduct points from the six plotters, while expulsion from the FA Cup is another measure being considered.
However, Savage rejected both, saying they went against the spirit of what the non-Big Six were fighting for. And would end up financially penalising the clubs who weren’t involved in the proposed breakaway.
“Competition, and the integrity of leagues based on merit, was the very thing everyone was seeking to protect from an elite closed shop where there was no promotion or relegation, he said.
“And why expel clubs like Manchester United from competitions where they are the biggest draw?
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“That will only hurt clubs outside the Big Six, who currently generate an estimated 30 per cent of game’s turnover between them.”