Costs ‘creating gulf between leagues’

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HUDDERSFIELD Town chairman Dean Hoyle has said the costs associated with progressing a football club are “not sustainable”.

Speaking at a Huddersfield Town Foundation fundraising event, the owner of the Terriers said the cash burden on teams moving up the league is becoming a barrier to progression.

Championship clubs can face as much as £20m and £25m a year in extra costs when they join the Premier League, he said. The impact of a couple of years in the top flight can leave club finances strained, but clubs continue to strive for it as the Premier League is “one of the greatest global exports the UK has ever had”.

Addressing guests at Huddersfield Town’s inaugural Chairman’s lunch, in aid of the club charity The Town Foundation, Mr Hoyle said the business of football is a “very expensive” one for any team looking to rise through the ranks.

This, in turn, is creating distance between those who have the funds to compete and those who are hampered by cash flow.

“There is a gulf between the Championship and the Premier League, but the gulf in the Championship is becoming huge as well, from top to bottom, no question,” he said.

Hull City owner Dr Assem Allam, who is currently looking for a buyer for the Premier League club, said the cost of succeeding in the UK’s top flight is the reason for his current dispute with fans over its name. Dr Allam is looking for a buyer for the club, which is in the Premier League, after fans rejected attempts to change the club’s name to Hull Tigers.

Huddersfield Town, who are currently sitting at 20th in the Championship, have faced a difficult season, beginning with the shock departure of Mark Robins after a 4-0 defeat on the opening day of the season.

However, despite the “emotional rollercoaster” of the job, the founder of The Card Factory said he has “never regretted” taking a controlling stake in the club. The chairman’s lunch saw Mr Hoyle joined by Dr Allam, Liverpool’s Ian Ayre, Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston and Paul Fletcher, former chief executive of The Stadium Company. All proceeds raised by the event will go to the charity.