Burnley FC host inquiry

ISSUES: Barry Kilby gives evidence at Tuesday's inquiry
ISSUES: Barry Kilby gives evidence at Tuesday's inquiry
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CLARETS chairman Barry Kilby spoke out on a number of serious issues affecting the game as Turf Moor hosted a Parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

The Reims suite in the Jimmy McIlroy Stand was the venue as the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the governance of professional football continues.

Kilby was joined by Leeds United chief executive Shaun Harvey, Crewe Alexandra chairman John Bowler and Exeter City vice-chairman Julian Tagg as Coalition MPs look into whether the Government should be more hands-on in the running of football.

Ahead of the points on the agenda, Kilby was asked what would be a measure of success at Burnley, and he remains as eager as ever to take the club back to the Premier League: “We’ve tasted it once and want to get back there again.

“We want to be in the top tier of English football and competing at that level.

“I don’t know how far up the ladder we could climb,but that is our aim.”

He also spoke out on why so many Football League clubs have gone into administration, and, asked whether the emphasis is too much on positions and trophies rather than rewards for being a well-run club, Kilby noted: “I was criticised in some quarters for not spending more money in the Premier League, and a lack of ambition always crops up, but you have to be careful not to bet the ranch.

“You have to make sure wages remain at a manageable level.

“We opted for prudence. You have to keep a weather eye on the future and where you might be in two or three years’ time.”

In that respect, he spoke against proposals to cap wages based on percentage of turnover - with League 2 clubs currently restricted to paying wages no higher than 60% of their turnover.

Kilby said: “I am slightly wary of it. It’s that little bit of straight jacket coming from above.

“The season we went up we increased our spending a bit through directors’ loans, but we knew what we were doing.

“There’s a bit of flexibility there.

“I think it’s a decent percentage of your wage bill, and I think it’s sensible , but it’s a bit rigid. It will tend to reinforce the status quo.”

An issue Kilby has openly debated in the past - whether parachute payments are distoring competition in the Championship - was also raised.

Kilby has seen the other side of the fence now, with the Clarets in their first of four potential years’ worth of payments after relegation from the Premier League, and he now believes they are crucial to adjusting to life back in the Championship: “The gap is so massive from the Premier League to the Championshipd.

“Average teams in the Premier League have a wage bill of £50million, so it’s the point about competition.

“We came up from the Championship and players got increased wages, but they were told ‘if we go down, it comes down’. That follows a logic that is easy to enforce.

“If you are trying to get an established Premier League players it isn’t an easy one to pull off.

“Sometimes you are competing against people who don’t care about a relegation clause. They get benefactors who are prepared to lose £600million.

“Plus it isn’t always guaranteed that the ones who come down with parachute payments are able to go back because they have got to try to get their house in order and get back on an even keel.”