Sport Soccer

Monday 25 September 2017

Premier League "not a charity"

Sky and BT have agreed to pay a combined £5.136billion for a three-year package of Premier League matches to 2019
Sky and BT have agreed to pay a combined £5.136billion for a three-year package of Premier League matches to 2019

Chief executive Richard Scudamore has insisted the Premier League is not a charity after calls were made for top flight clubs to share out a bigger chunk of its new £5.136billion domestic television rights deal across the rest of the game.

The staggering new Sky and BT Sport deal for the 2016-19 seasons, a 70 per cent rise on the current £3.01billion sum, has led to suggestions that the top players will earn £500,000 a week by 2020.

The Premier League has still to negotiate its overseas deals, which could bring in a further £3billion and cement its position as the world's richest league.

Richard Caborn, a board member of the Football Foundation and a former sports minister, challenged the 20 Premier League club owners to commit at least five per cent of its income to grass-roots football.

The Football Supporters' Federation called for "a three-pronged attack" insisting the level of funding to grass-roots football should not only be further addressed, but also there should be cuts to ticket prices and money should filter down the pyramid to the Football League clubs.

The Premier League said it spends five per cent of the current £3.01billion TV deal on grass-roots football and good causes and Scudamore said the league was a success story but not a charity.

Scudamore told BBC Radio Four: "We're not set up for charitable purposes. We are set up to be the best football competition.

"Just like in the film industry or pop industry, or any talent industry, the talent gets paid a disproportionately high amount compared to other people in the business.

"We are in the entertainment industry. The stars that grace the fields in the Premier League are world stars. The fans want the best talent to come and play in the Premier League."

The Premier League jointly funds the Football Foundation, providing £12million annually, along with the FA and the Government who each provide £10million.

Caborn told Press Association Sport: "This is a challenge to the 20 club owners and chairmen. Some of them have been alleged to have little interest in the England team and English football more broadly,

"Community funding from the Premier League has not kept pace with its increase in television income and I would challenge the chairmen to commit five per cent of their total receipts to grass-roots football.

"The number of 3G pitches we have in England is tiny compared with countries such as Germany, and the same goes for the number of coaches when you compare us with Spain for example."

Five per cent of the 2016-19 UK television deal would work out at £86million a year, and if the overseas TV rights bring in another £3billion that would total £136million annually for grass-roots football under Caborn's proposal, which would exclude parachute and solidarity payments to Football League.

The Premier League has said it has committed five per cent of its 2013-16 UK rights to grass roots and good causes - £168million over the three-season term, or £56million a season.

That includes the funding to the Football Foundation, as well as school sport, community coaching, Football League and Conference community projects, and the Prince's Trust Football Initiative.

The league said: "This season we will invest in more than 50 new artificial grass roots pitches in communities across the UK and deliver hundreds of projects that focus on improving sports coaching in schools and inspiring young people to play sport."

FSF chairman Malcolm Clarke said the Premier League was a "monster that is out of the FA's control" but that there was an opportunity for club chairmen to use the income for the benefit of the wider game.

He said: "People keep using the word 'obscene', but it's not obscene we're getting this amount of money into English football. What might be obscene is how it's used.

"The irony is when the Premier League was founded in 1992, the reason the FA gave for founding it - and we sometimes forget it was the FA that created the Premier League, created a monster it possibly can't control now - was to help the England team.

"I don't think people thought then, over 20 years ago, teams would now be full of foreign players, and the majority of clubs would be owned by foreign owners."

Sky is paying a total of £4.176billion over the three years, or £1.392billion per season for their 126 games, equating to £11.03million per match.

BT, meanwhile, is throwing £960million into the pot, averaging out at £320million a season for 42 games, or £7.6million a match.

Sky's shares were down 2.2 per cent at close of trading in London - City analysts had predicted the broadcaster would pay around £330million less for the rights - while BT's share price had risen by 3.65 per cent.

Press Association

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