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Liverpool owner admits richest Premier League clubs will try to grab bigger share of TV money at key meeting

12 months ago
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The richest Premier League clubs are at it again.

In October last year (see below) the ‘big six’ tried to force through a proposal that would mean even more money for the ones at the top.

With the UK TV rights appearing to be reaching a plateau, that top half dozen attempted to grab a larger share of the overseas cash.

They wanted 35% of the overseas TV cash to be shared out based on where you finish in the league, so if you are pretty much always in the top six, you would then be the ones to benefit the most from such a change.

The cash share out from last season sums up how much overseas rights puts in every club’s pockets and that figure is set to rise even further once all deals have been agreed for the three years starting with season 2019/20.

Last season every Premier League club banked just under £41m via overseas rights, so West Brom who finished bottom of the league and got just under £95m in total from TV/PL finish, it meant well over 40% of their money came from the overseas TV payout.

Premier League Chairman Richard Scudamore recently said the clubs are still determined to one day force through the proposal to play Premier League matches abroad to bring in more cash…and it was he who tried to persuade the poorer clubs to agree to a change last October.

He met the 14 clubs outside the top six and put forward the idea of sharing 35% of overseas income based on league position, only for 11 to indicate they wouldn’t support it.

For such changes to be made, 14 of the 20 PL clubs need to agree.

A formal vote was then agreed to be held at the next meeting of all 20 PL clubs and Scudamore and others set about trying to persuade clubs to change their mind. However, before the meeting was even held, the PL Chairman revealed there wouldn’t be a vote, as it was accepted there was no chance of success.

Move forward eight months and they are having another go.

Liverpool owner John Henry has let the cat out of the bag, saying the change in overseas TV cash distribution is top of the agenda when all 20 PL clubs meet this Thursday.

Henry says how unfair it is that the overseas TV money is shared equally…and that this can’t be allowed to continue.

The thing is though, how could a yes vote ever happen?

The majority of those outside the top six elite would be effectively voting for their club to receive less money.

So surely, the only possible way is if those top six threatened the rest of the clubs with the possibility of doing something else that would be far worse for the rest of the clubs.

The default setting always used to be the threat of a breakaway European superleague but they effectively already have that with the rigged Champions League set-up, which is all aimed at keeping the same elite clubs succeeding.

So who knows what tactics/threats the likes of Liverpool and the rest are going to use this time.

John Henry talking to The Associated Press.

“It’s a disagreement based entirely on governance.

“Everyone in the league knows what the large clubs bring to the value of foreign rights, but the large clubs do not have the votes to change something that should have changed as media rights changed over the past 25 years.

“You cannot stick with the same media strategy forever any more than you can stick with the same football tactics forever.

“Because of this arrangement (the distribution of overseas revenue) and due to parachute payments to relegated clubs, the top three clubs each year in the Premier League receive less overall TV monies than the bottom three clubs when you include parachute payments.

“It’s hard to imagine this continuing much longer.

“In America, where we have closed leagues, you can argue for these types of arrangements, but it’s much more difficult to ask independent clubs to subsidise their competitors beyond a certain point when you have relegation and especially with the way media is rapidly changing and being consumed today.”

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The Mag – 4 October 2017:

Last Wednesday (27 September) we brought you news of a meeting of 14 Premier League clubs.

Those 14 met with Premier League Chairman Richard Scudamore, in order for him to present a plan put forward by the missing six clubs (read below), that could potentially lead to a change in the way that overseas TV cash is shared out.

The six missing were Manchester City and Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs.

At the minute the overseas TV deals see the money shared out evenly, with each PL club receiving around £39m per season. However, this amount is set to massively climb again, once the new deals come into effect for the 2019/20 season.

The proposal from the top/greedy six is that 35% of the total cash should be decided by league position, with obviously those six fancying that in the years to come they will be nearer the top than the bottom.

Premier League rules mean that 14 clubs would need to agree to any change and the good news from last week’s meeting was that 11 of the 14 who met, indicated they weren’t convinced about making the change.

All 20 Premier League clubs meet today, with a vote said to be due to be made, which will decide whether a change will be made starting with the 2019/20 season.

Difficult to see how it could get a majority, as for a club to benefit, they would have to fancy being at least top 10 in a majority of the seasons in order to better off than the current arrangements.

My guess would be that of the three who indicated they were in favour of the change last Wednesday, the likes of West Ham and Everton could be two of them. Both I think fancying themselves as clubs on the up, despite their current early season woes.

Happily, it is widely reported that Newcastle United are against any changes, and surely the only way those looking to move the goalposts could win, is if they exert some kind of pressure on the less well off.

If this move went through, it would simply be the thin end of the wedge and the gap between the rich and not so rich would grow ever wider as the years go by.

At a time when the pot of money grows and grows, with no sign of stopping its upward trajectory, it is appalling that some clubs look to grab a bigger share, at the expense of the competition that exists in the Premier League.

English clubs have a far lower gap between top and bottom when it comes to sharing out TV cash, compared to the other major leagues, helping to sell the Premier League around the world. If you had the situation that exits in say Spain, where the TV cash isn’t so fairly split, then that worldwide audience would have nowhere near the same interest.

BBC Sport – Earlier today (4 October 2017):

Club bosses are preparing for one of the most important meetings in the Premier League’s history on Wednesday.

It comes amid a potentially damaging split over the way the next round of multi-billion-pound international broadcasting rights are shared.

Under pressure from the six richest clubs, the league’s executive chairman Richard Scudamore has proposed ending 25 years of the equal sharing of international broadcasting income.

Scudamore presented his plan – which would see 35% of the revenue divided according to league position – to the 14 other clubs last week. But it has been met with resistance and, with a two-thirds majority required to approve any changes, he now faces a major challenge to broker some form of agreement.

The Mag – 27 September 2017:

Newcastle United and 13 other top tier clubs met in London on Wednesday as a handful of clubs made a grab for a bigger share of the Premier League TV money.

The story has been broken by The Guardian, who report that Premier League Chairman Richard Scudamore presented a proposal to the 14 clubs on behalf of the six attempting to move the goalposts.

No surprise that the six clubs putting forward the proposal, are Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool.

They want the Premier League to change the way that the money from overseas TV deals is distributed.

Ever since the Premier League format was introduced in 1992, the cash from overseas TV contracts has been shared equally.

However, recent years have seen that pot of money rapidly increase and it is expected to make another giant leap when the new TV deals kick in as from the start of the 2019/20 season.

At the moment, the domestic TV deals are worth around £5.1bn and the overseas deals approximately £3bn.

The current 3 year deal sees all Premier League clubs receiving £39m per year from the overseas deals, whereas a large proportion of the cash from the UK domestic deals depends on both league position and how often you are shown live.

Under these new proposals presented by Scudamore, 35% of the overseas TV cash would be decided upon league position as from the 2019/20 season.

The six clubs proposing the deal would no doubt argue that it is fair because any club could finish at the top end and get the bigger shares BUT the reality of course is that these clubs know they are all but guaranteed to be within the group who will grab the most money.

Any change in how the PL shares out the cash would need 14 of 20 clubs to support it and the good news is that The Guardian report that at today’s meeting 11 clubs ‘remained firmly opposed’ to changing how overseas TV cash is shared out.

It is shocking the greed of the handful, who already bank more money than the other clubs in all kinds of way, plus invariably they are the ones also banking Champions League money as a massive bonus.

The ‘big six’ are said to argue that because they are the biggest draw overseas then they should be entitled to more money but they miss the point that a league system needs 20 clubs, not just half a dozen.

The Guardian report that there will now be a meeting of all 20 Premier League clubs next Wednesday in London, to then finalise what the sharing arrangements will be.

I think the correct phrase here is ‘trying it on’.


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