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Acun Ilicali writes open letter to ‘fans of all clubs’ following EFL funding deal collapse

Hull City chairman, Acun Ilicali has expressed his disappointment at the collapse of the funding deal between the Premier League and the EFL.

On Monday, talks broke down. Initially, the proposal was that the Premier League would offer the EFL an estimated £900 million over six-years. However, no agreement was reached, leaving EFL clubs in a precarious position.

Ilicali bemoans unsustainable financial situation

Ilicali wrote an open letter to “fans of all clubs,” voicing his concerns about the future of the English pyramid. The Turkish businessman completed his takeover of Hull on January 19, 2022, and has guided the club to seventh in the Championship table, only three points off a play-off spot.

Acun Ilicali
Acun Ilicali completed his takeover of Hull City on January 19, 2022 – Photo by Icon Sport

However, he has suggested that maintaining competitiveness and trying to reach the Premier League is becoming increasingly unsustainable for EFL owners in the current financial climate.

In his statement, Ilicali said: “Our approach over the last two years has been a dual focus on investment into our squad and delivering an affordable product for our fans. We have seen this bear fruit in terms of our current league position and an increase in average attendance of nearly 100%. This, however, is not a sustainable model under current financial parameters and without change, will see the necessity for us to sell players and potentially increase prices for our fans.”

Ilicali urges Premier League owners to protect EFL in long-term

The Tigers’ owner addressed Premier League owners in his statement, reaffirming the importance of the EFL structure. In fact, Ilicali pointed to the number of current England players, who came from EFL clubs to highlight its significance in the long-term.

He said: “I firmly believe that the Premier League has an obligation to be the leader in protecting that competitiveness and I would urge it to deliver on its commitment to deliver a new funding offer.

“Of course, I understand the need for clubs to protect their best interests, but the strength of any pyramid is in its foundations. You only have to look at the recently announced England squad to understand the importance of the EFL to the very pinnacle of our sport. This is why we are also in full support of the proposed introduction of an independent regulator with sufficient autonomy and powers to make decisions for the benefit and long-term sustainability of the footballing pyramid.”

You can view Ilicali’s full statement here.


Will Murray

Freelance football journalist. Experience writing for When Saturday, Comes, Goalkeeper.com, Elite Scholars and Total Football Analysis. Recently finished an MA in Sport Journalism at the University of Brighton. Long-time season ticket holder at the two-time European Champions Nottingham Forest.

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