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First Division Breakaway On Cards Today!!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 10/07/2002

A major "bust up" is expected at the Football League today when chairmen of first division clubs are expected to call for the resignation of chief executive David Burns because he agreed the Sky TV deal without consulting league clubs.

The chairmen are angry over the BSkyB £90m deal, which they claim does not represent value for money and binds them to a contract over the next four years bringing losses to the clubs and Burns entered into the deal without consulting them and they did not approve any deal.

This row may lead to the first division breaking away from the league. Although a report from accountants KPMG is to be discussed which looks at ways the league can be restructured and rebranded, it is feared that this latest development over the TV contract could lead to a complete breakaway by the first division.

Millwall's chairman Theo Paphitis said: "A number of crucial issues will be under discussion, particularly the future of David Burns. He has no money invested in any of our clubs but he has committed us to four years of losses. He has forgotten who pays his wages."

"The First Division was not consulted about this television deal and there is no way that we would have approved it and committed ourselves to a four-year contract in a depressed market."

"There is a lot of anger at Burns's actions and I really hope it does not lead to a breakaway but I know many of the chairmen do not now want to be part of an organisation that acts in this way."

The BSkyB deal represents a severe revenue decrease for all 72 League clubs but those in the First Division will be hardest hit, down from £2.7m each per season to only £500,000, which has angered the chairmen.

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