The London pow-wow involving the Premier League so-called ‘big five’ was an attempt to grab more of the TV money for themselves
Plans for a European Super League are today exposed by Sunday People Sport as a threat to the Premier League over television rights, reports the Sunday People’s Neil Moxley.
We have uncovered the real agenda behind proposals to create a new competition – which is little more than an attempt by the big boys to negotiate their own deals.
Whistle-blowers from two clubs have told us that the reason behind the meeting of the Premier League big five was to send a warning to Premier League boss Richard Scudamore.
Executives from Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea, gathered in a swanky London hotel earlier this month. The bigwigs met American billionaire Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins.
It was alleged that the splinter group wanted to maximise their earnings by quitting the Premier League and Champions League and joining fellow powerhouses like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich to create a European Super League.
Problem coming? Could it be a threat to Scudamore’s plansBut, thanks to two well-placed sources at other clubs, Sunday People Sport can reveal that the London pow-wow was little more than an attempt to force the Premier League’s hand and grab more TV money for themselves.
While the rest of Europe is seeking to copy the Premier League model, with TV money equally distributed, the big five are now more interested in negotiating their own deals.
Sunday People Sport has spoken to a pair of high-ranking officials who have voiced concerns. The first said: “The motivation for all of this is that the playing field is becoming more equal – and the bigger clubs do not like it.
“They are finding that the Premier League is now becoming so competitive that they cannot manage domestically as well as in Europe.
“In the past, because of the additional revenue from the Champions League, they were able to dominate at home.
“But the new television deal struck by the Premier League means that clubs such as Leicester City, West Ham United and Stoke City – to name just three – are now able to make life much more difficult for them.
Problem: The big boys don’t want the likes of Leicester getting equal money“In the Premier League, the competitive advantage of the country’s leading clubs has been eroded. No longer are the smaller clubs mere fixture-fodder for the big boys.
“These five don’t want clubs like Leicester or West Ham to get their hands on Champions League cash. That isn’t part of their plan at all.
“What they want is the freedom to leave the arrangement that has seen the Premier League become the most successful domestic football competition on the planet so they can earn more money through negotiating their own rights deals in the way Real Madrid and Barcelona have established dominance in Spain for years.
“In turn that will enable them to pay higher wages and attract the best players. That should ensure they remain at the top of the pile. That is what they were communicating when this story entered the public domain.
“This was supposed to be top secret. Yet Ed Woodward from Manchester United, Chelsea’s Bruce Buck, Ivan Gazidis from Arsenal, Ferran Soriano from Manchester City and Liverpool’s Ian Ayre were pictured shaking hands on the front steps of the Dorchester Hotel.
“They were effectively telling the rest of us that this is what they could do if the Premier League doesn’t cave in and give them more of the pie.”
A second high-ranking official at another top-flight club added more detail, saying: “There are a few clubs who would like nothing more than to change the distribution of income from television.
“Manchester City are prime movers in this. They don’t see why, for instance, Leicester should have access to the same funds as Sevilla. They are just not happy with the way that the money from the latest television deal is split.”
Dominance: Real and Barca dominate the TV rights in Spain
Ironically, Spain’s two leading clubs – Barcelona and Real Madrid – have just been tied to a collective TV rights agreement along the same lines as the Premier League model.
A complicated arrangement has been established where both clubs are guaranteed never to receive less than they did before. It is also skewed in their favour as pay-outs are linked to finishing positions.
However, despite the grumbles of discontent in the boardrooms of some clubs, nothing will happen in the short-term.
For any amendments to be made the clubs need to vote through the changes. At present, that means 14 out of the 20 need to be in agreement. Judging by the response this week from those clubs looking in from the outside – that appears some way off.
© 2016 Mirror | This article was written by Neil Moxley and first appeared in Mirror on the 26th March 2016.