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EFL slam Premier League broadcast deal as ‘missed opportunity’ to change ‘unfair’ status quo

·4-min read
 (AFP/Getty Images)
(AFP/Getty Images)

The EFL have criticised the Premier League's new broadcast deal, describing it as "a missed opportunity" to redress financial inequality in the game.

On Thursday, the Premier League announced the had existing £4.7billion deal with Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and the BBC had been rolled over for another three years to 2025.

The Government approved the deal "in principle" with an "exclusion order" under the competition act, which allowed League to renew without its normal tender process.

In return, the Premier League have pledged to provide an extra £100million in support for the wider game over the next four years.

In a strongly worded statement, the EFL said the proposed deal would preserve the “unfair” status quo and continue to put particular strain on Championship clubs striving for promotion.

It read: "It is important to acknowledge that the current media rights deal will preserve the status quo of an unbalanced, unsustainable, and unfair financial distribution model across English football which continues to cause serious financial issues throughout the football pyramid, while continuing to distort competition between Clubs and threaten the long-term viability of EFL competitions and Clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two.

"Championship Clubs in particular face impossible economic pressures, seeking to gain promotion to the Premier League, which has in turn led to untenable financial speculation and irrational behaviour. "

Some of the additional £100m from the Premier League deal will go to League One and League Two clubs, which the EFL welcomed, but it added: "What is more urgently required is a fundamental re-set of the game’s financial model - both in terms of fairer distribution of monies at all levels and sensible, realistic cost control measures to ensure Clubs will live within their means.

"Today’s announcement appears to have been a missed opportunity for the Government to obtain a commitment from the Premier League to address the financial imbalance that exists between the top division and the rest of football and comes just a matter of weeks since football and authorities unified with a collective voice to protect the integrity of the top division and wider pyramid in this country."

Getty Images
Getty Images

The EFL said it hoped the issues outlined would be addressed by the Premier League's forthcoming strategic review into English football and the Government's fan-led review into football governance, led by Tracey Crouch, MP.

The League also reiterated calls for the abolition of parachute payments, which are paid by the Premier League to relegated clubs, saying described them as "a reward for relegation while distorting competition."

The EFL statement continued: "While our previous calls have so far been overlooked, the EFL maintains that sustainability can be achieved with 25% of English football’s pooled net media revenues distributed to the EFL, alongside the abolition of the outdated parachute payment system and introduction of appropriate cost controls. It is our strong view that parachute payments are not a form of solidarity and instead provide a reward for relegation while distorting competition.

"They should be halted with the money instead reinvested for the ultimate benefit of the pool and our 72 members. These changes alone would provide the EFL with the platform it requires to significantly reduce the financial chasm between the Premier League and Championship and provide fairer distribution throughout our leagues to help achieve sustainability in the professional game."

Getty Images for Premier League
Getty Images for Premier League

The Premier League will give 15 per cent of its broadcast deal – roughly £1.5bn – in support for the wider game, including in parachute payments.

Speaking before the EFL’s statement, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said “the right balance” had been struck in support for the lower divisions, even without additional funds for the Championship.

“Obviously in the last two years we have distributed a lot of revenue and additional monies into the Football League,” Masters said.

“But the major recipients of the solidarity money are the Championship clubs themselves. We think it’s the right balance at the moments.

“When I talk about 15%and the £1.5billion, it includes parachute payment, but the sums that aren’t parachute payments are still substantial and it’s a £110m we give to the EFL each year that’s shared amongst clubs that aren’t parachute clubs. The majority of that goes to the Championship.”

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