Hull City owner calls for reduction of wealth gap between the Premier League and Championship - as Burnley win race for MK Dons ace

ACUN ILICALI has been around English football long enough now to know what the big problem is.

Speak to the Hull City owner and he becomes animated when talk turns to parachute payments given to relegated top-flight clubs.

Several of his boardroom counterparts at rival Championship clubs who’ve been involved in the game here for many years would nod their heads in agreement.

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson being one.

ACUN ILICALI: Feels the wealth gap in English football is too big. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Hull have been in the market for a number of players this summer, including MK Dons’ sought-after midfielder Scott Twine, who has attracted interest from a host of second-tier clubs.

But it is Burnley, armed with parachute payments, who have made the decisive move for League One’s player of the season, who contributed 20 goals and 13 assists in 2021-22.

Ilicali, who took over Hull in January, said: “If you ask me, in the system I think there is a problem in England.

“There is such a big difference between the budgets of the Premier League and Championship (in) that anybody coming from the Premier League is carrying a squad with a big budget.

SCOTT TWINE: Looks set to join Burnley after being targeted by Hull. Picture: PA Wire.

“It was not like this 15 years ago. The Premier League budget was not as high.

“Somebody has to be involved in (changing) that. Of course, maybe I am new in the country. But if you ask me what the first observation is, in order to be fair in the competition, I think this difference between the Premier League and Championship should not as big.

“What I see is the biggest gap between the two leagues (in the world).

“What gives us a big problem is that there are three teams coming down from the Premier League and two teams couldn’t get promotion one year before, so five teams who’ve very strong squads can be six or seven teams all coming from the Premier League.

“My advice to the important people involved in football in England is maybe they should support the Championship more so we have less difference (in finances).”

For Ilicali, the undoubted ‘fun’ of the Championship is the fact that teams can go from the bottom end of the table to the top end in the space of one season.

There are still surprise packages such as Huddersfield Town and Luton Town in 2021-22 and Barnsley in 2020-21.

That they did not do it on the back of a level financial playing field makes it all the more laudable against the unfairness of parachute payments.

That will be the aim for Hull next season, as they compete against several sides who are being artificially propped up.

Hull’s ability to tap into the Turkish market and see where there is value will be exploited to the full and it is an advantage that they intend to use wisely as they bid to be this season’s Yorkshire version of Huddersfield last term.

Ilicali added: “For me, one of the best teams we played at our home was one of the teams who were relegated in Barnsley.

“When I was coming here, I knew that in this league, anyone can beat each other. We beat the number two team and were beaten by the one who were relegated. This is the fun of the Championship.”