Championship Wrecked! Premiership Blasted!

Craig Bellamy's arrival at Cardiff brought instant dividends as his new team beat Doncaster 4-0, but Bellamymania hasn't been celebrated by everyone. Doncaster chairman John Ryan claimed that the deal is a fine mess for the Championship.

Bellamy's loan move to Cardiff will distort the integrity of the Championship. It is an incredibly competitive division. This is my third season in it with Doncaster and I've learned that it's unpredictability is it's beauty. It is not like the Premier League where champions Chelsea have won their opening two games 6-0. Most people expect Manchester United or Chelsea to win the title. Yet every team in the second tier believe they can beat anyone and clinch promotion. Just look at what Blackpool and Burnley have achieved. Handing a striker of Bellamy's quality to Cardiff - and paying most of his wages - undermines the sanctity of the competition. Manchester City shouldn't have done that. I feel let down by that, as do many other Championship chairman.

In no way do I blame Cardiff. I'd have been delighted to sign Craig at the Keepmoat, so it's not sour grapes. But if everyone goes to Cardiff and gets slammed 4-0 like us - and remember on-loan Bellamy scored one and set up two on Saturday - the result will be an unfair competition because Manchester City are bankrolling Cardiff's success. For older players like David James, who has turned 40, to drop down a division makes sense. But for a star name to do so in his prime, like 31-year-old Bellamy, is not right. Other Premier League clubs coveted him and couldn't afford him. Everton, for example, were priced out.

I'm galled to have had City's money playing against me, particularly as I was a substantial shareholder and helped the youth team by sponsoring their lunches before I sold my shareholding to Thaksin Shinawatra. But what chance has a young player coming through at Eastlands? Stephen Ireland and Nedum Onuoha were released recently, despite showing promise. The loan system should be about sending out youngsters to become better footballers. That's what we do. Last year we took Jay Emmanuel-Thomas from Arsenal and Jordan Mutch from Birmingham.

There's no doubting that Bellamy will make Cardiff a better side, but no club in the Championship would be able to afford such a talent without the goodwill of the Premier League team. I say 'goodwill', but it's more about control. The control the Premier League elite have over the rest of football. And it'll get worse. The new parachute payments system has kicked in and means a side relegated from the Premier League will get £48million over four years - approximately £17m in the first season, £14m in season two and more than £8m in years three and four. That's an astonishing amount and will lead to an unfair playing field. It will create a 'them and us' scenario because in three or four years there will be six or seven teams on massive parachute payments and the rest struggling to get by.

Championship clubs have been given some compensation by the Premier League but sides in League One and League Two have been cut adrift and it will be very difficult for a lower league club to come through unless they have huge fan-base. The Premier League's top clubs want to control the Championship so that the bigger clubs get promoted and that helps everyone's gate receipts and TV money. It's all about keeping the elite, keeping the status quo. But now I want to open the debate. In five years we'll have Premier League II instead of an ultra-competitive and entertaining Championship. Is that good for football?

Events in the second tier will have a detrimental effect on the national team. You'll see less young players coming through, increasingly worse England teams, and that is not what the football pyramid should be about. I can see many teams in League One and League Two going to the wall.

Source: John Ryan, Chairman of Doncaster Rovers

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