*BS*JIM PARMENTER says football is in a huge financial mess – and it is time for the authorities to act.
*BF*Many clubs are spending way above their means in their bid for glory.
But this is coming at a huge price with several sides going into administration or entering CVA agreements.
And the Whites chairman believes it is time for football to clean up its act.
He said: “It’s getting silly now – even Premier League clubs are in trouble of going to the wall.
“We fully support the Conference’s decision to expel Chester from the Blue Square Premier last week.
“And I do believe we have a big problem at our level of the game – as even now clubs that are in financial trouble are still spending money they can’t afford.”
Jim has branded clubs that go into administration as “cheats” and wants tougher penalties dished out.
He says there is a club, currently in a CVA, who are paying their players cash – and putting it down as “expenses”.
Meanwhile, the creditors are struggling to get anywhere near what they are owed.
And, in a no-holds-barred interview with doverathletic.com, Jim has called for:
• An instant two-division relegation for teams that go into administration – an idea suggested last week by Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn.
• All club accounts to be studied before every season by leagues.
• Teams given a deadline to get their house in order or face penalties such as relegation or expulsion.
Jim rapped: “It gets on my nerves, watching clubs cheat the system.
“There are so many teams in football, spending well and over what they can afford, chasing the dream.
“Then there are clubs like ours, who keep control of our spending and budgets, and are at a disadvantage as other teams cheat the system.
“It sickens me that one club in one of the feeder divisions, which must remain nameless, are continuing to pay their players good salaries, while in a CVA.
“These types of teams can still compete to stay in their division or go for promotion, paying their squad big money, while the creditors get a fraction of what they are owed. It’s crazy.
“Dover Athletic was one of these clubs in the past under previous regimes – but we’ve learned painful lessons, dropping all the way down the pyramid.
“But we run our club sensibly now – and we don’t pay over the odds for our playing budget.
“Yet there are so many teams who simply cannot afford to even play in the Blue Square South.
“It’s time for the football authorities to get a grip on the situation – and perhaps do what Barry Hearn suggested and chuck them down two divisions.
“I tell you something, you will immediately see clubs think twice about over-spending then.
“To be frank, these clubs are cheats – and they should be weeded out of football.
*Q1*”It really is time now for leagues to insist on all club accounts to be studied every season – and if clubs are found to be spending beyond their means, they should be given a deadline to get their house in order or face relegation, or even expulsion.”
Jim also believes that the Blue Square South and Blue Square North have become a No Man’s Land of football.
And the Whites chairman insists that the club are better off either in the Ryman League Premier Division or the Blue Square Premier.
He said: “Our gates are down by about 15 per cent, which is not bad when you consider the amount of local matches we’ve lost this season.
“I really don’t think the tier below the Blue Square Premier is working – and is a No Man’s Land of football.
“About half the clubs can’t afford to be in these two divisions. The gates aren’t that great, the income is down from the Ryman Premier – yet you need to pay higher wages for a single player. And half the clubs in the Ryman Premier cannot afford to be there too.
“I think perhaps it’s time to go back to three divisions feeding into the national tiers, whether that is under the Conference’s umbrella or the three traditional feeder divisions, I don’t know.
“But that would create more local matches, higher gates and wage expectations won’t be so high.”
Jim says the Conference, under the former Setanta TV deal, only paid Blue Square South and North clubs around £7,000 to £8,000 a season – while a Premier outfit pocketed £80,000 to £90,000 a club.
He said: “It just shows you the difference between being in the Premier and the South division.
“The sponsorship money and TV rights money is far higher and of course the gates are much higher, due to the big former Football League clubs packing that division now.
“In the Blue Square South, our Boxing Day match is against Lewes. No disrespect to Lewes, but that doesn’t get the juices flowing for our fans.
“We are definitely better off in the Ryman Premier or Blue Square Premier – so it’s not beneficial for us to consolidate in the Blue Square South.”
Jim also wanted to spell out the club’s intentions if they are promoted into Blue Square Premier.
He said: “There’s been a lot of debate about whether we should go full-time.
“But with football in the mess it is at the moment, even some league clubs are thinking of having some part-time players.
“Dagenham are doing it with a mixture. I think there is another option available to us.
“I don’t think it is just a case of ‘full-time’ or ‘part-time’. You can retain a squad of young full-time pros who have aspirations of playing at a higher level, mixed in with a few experienced part-time players.
“We’ve made no definite decision yet but we are discussing all the options.”