Championship clubs consider structure changes

Championship and League 1 clubs opened discussions over the potential restructuring of the competitions at a meeting on Thursday.

It was the first time clubs have held an open forum to discuss how the competitions should look, with wide-ranging views laid out on the table from senior figures from different clubs.

Officials inside the meeting have described the talks as “constructive and proactive”, with those involved discussing a whole host of different ideas about how the competitions could be enhanced moving forward.

The conversation was the first time clubs opened dialogue on the matter. With a new broadcast deal set to be negotiated for 2022 and beyond, clubs are keen to start talks early so any changes made are set in stone before next season to give everyone clear notice of any new implications ahead of the 2021 campaign.

While several involved insisted there was no clear suggestion the structure of the competitions would necessarily change, they said clubs would rather have the conversation now, and make a decision in plenty of time, rather than nearer to the start of next year.

However, League Express has learned that more and more clubs believe the season should be shortened and, if any changes were to be made, it would likely include fewer games.

That could mean a change to the number of teams in the competitions, though there are methods to cut down the number of games by both expanding and reducing teams.

The clubs’ priority is believed to relate to broadcast matters, with all clubs keen to secure their own TV deal rather than rely on Super League to finance the lower leagues, as has been the case with the current TV contract.

The number of teams in League 1 will certainly change next year, after clubs were informed Ottawa will join the competition next season.