Barnsley FC seeking one-off payout if they suffer Championship relegation

Barnsley have written to the Football League calling for a one-off £7.4m payment if they are “unfairly and unlawfully relegated” from a restarted Championship.

Barnsley's Alex Mowatt comes under pressure from Cardiff's Joe Ralls and Leandro Bacuna at Oakwell on March 7 - the last time Gerhard Struber's team played. Picture: Dean Atkins.

Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate welcomed Sunday’s announcement that the second tier is working towards a June 20 resumption, but the Oakwell club are one of a number who have raised concerns.

Queens Park Rangers chief executive Lee Hoos said he was “appalled” about the lack of consultation, but it is the format their remaining nine games will take which is most troubling the Reds, who are bottom with a seven-point gap to make up.

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Barnsley have warned about the “potential failure of their enterprise” if they are unable to avoid a third Championship relegation in seven seasons. They have proposed relegation be scrapped if the matches are not played – or failing that, a special payment to each club relegated from the division.

CONCERNS: Barnsley FC joint-chairmen Paul Conway and Chien Lee. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Resumed matches will be played behind closed doors, depriving clubs of much-needed matchday revenue and, they argue, a significant advantage.

“Some clubs will lose home-field advantage for matches behind closed doors in respect to the reverse fixture earlier this season,” they wrote. “This is especially true with big rivalries and the loss of the respective revenue.

“Those clubs unfairly and unlawfully relegated to a lower division would face further uncertainty and potential failure of their enterprise.

“The only way to secure against innumerable damages in the case of relegation would be a one-time parachute payment to the affected clubs representing the loss of one season of television revenue.”

Barnsley manager Gerhard Struber is keen for the Championship season to be settled on the pitch. Picture: Dean Atkins.

Behind-closed-door games in Germany’s Bundesliga have actually favoured the away side since the resumption.

Clubs relegated from the Championship do not usually receive a parachute payment but those that drop out of the Premier League, where even the bottom-placed club can earn nearly £100m a year in television and prize money, do.

Despite his club’s reservations, top-scorer Cauley Woodrow called the resumption “the right decision” and coach Gerhard Struber wants the season decided on the pitch.

Hull City, two points above the relegation zone, have been vocal opponents to the campaign restarting, raising concerns about the consequences if a player were to fall ill with coronavirus.

BACK ON IT: Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

Leeds United have been consistent throughout the pandemic in their determination to return to the field, even though they would be handed the title in an abandoned season under the Football League’s proposals for concluding the campaign. The Whites are top of the table, seven points clear of the play-off places.

Woodgate, whose side are level on points with Hull, called the announcement “the news we’ve been waiting for,” adding: “As a club we’ve made no secret of the fact that we wanted to restart the season when it is deemed safe enough to do so.”

Boro will step up their training and hold some sessions at the Riverside to prepare for their remaining home matches.

“It isn’t a lot of time, but the players worked to their own programmes during lockdown, and came back last week,” said Woodgate.

“We’d had June 20 in mind as a possible to return and were already working towards that date.

“We had a good week last week and we’ll step things up this week, and keep moving forwards now. We’ll do most of our work at Rockliffe, but we will use the Riverside just to get the feel of the place again. 

“It’ll be a different environment without our supporters, but it is what it is, and safety has to come first. We have four home games left and we will have to adapt to that.”

While one-from-bottom Luton Town welcomed the June 20 date, they called for more clarity and uniformity on training protocols, and are worried games are being played in too short a period.

Huddersfield Town are a point ahead of Middlesbrough and Hull, who are due to play Charlton Athletic on June 20.

The Addicks will climb out of the relegation zone at the Tigers’ expense if they win, but top-scorer Lyle Taylor is one of three players unwilling to play. Taylor and Chris Solly are out of contract this month, when David Davis’s loan from Birmingham City ends.

Manager Lee Bowyer says all three have told him they do not want to risk injury.

Hoos has been the most scathing about Sunday’s announcement, saying: “I am absolutely stunned, as is our director of football Les Ferdinand and our manager Mark Warburton.

“Incredibly, there has been absolutely no consultation with individual clubs nor with the Championship doctors’ working group by the divisional representatives – or anyone else in the Football League – regarding this matter.

“We were only made aware of the statement 40 minutes before it was made public. We are absolutely appalled.”

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