Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon believes the number of professional clubs in England must be reduced by more than half if the sport is to remain financiallyviable.

‘Quite clearly, I don’t think you can have four divisions of professional football any longer,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.

‘I think there are too many clubs. That’s not to say that they can’t exist, but they can’t all be professional and that has to be reviewed.

With many Football League clubs still suffering following the collapse of ITV Digital, Kenyon argues that a maximum of 40 clubs can exist on a full-time professional basis.

‘I can’t see much beyond the first two divisions being fully professional and then a third division being semi,’ he added.

Kenyon was also critical of the decision of many clubs to be public floated on the stock exchange.

‘I am not sure why most football clubs went public in the first place,’ Kenyon added. ‘It was almost a fad.

”I think that the majority of the City think that football clubs shouldn’t be quoted.

‘They have not changed their management structure. They have not demonstrated that they can manage costs. They have not demonstrated that they can be anything other than a football clubs.

”There is huge uncertainty and all those things are not what the City like to invest in. They don’t like shocks. They don’t like great peaks and troughs, and football as an industry gives you that.’