Is The English Premier League Morphing Into The Evil Empire?


Let me start off by stating that I have no problem with the English Premier League (EPL) banking a whopping £5.14bn in their latest TV rights deal.

If huge TV networks continue to fight over the English games elite league and can afford the offers, then fair play to the league for accepting what’s thrown at them.

I do have issues with where the money goes though.

The EPL Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has been grinning endlessly from ear to ear, ever since he announced this new gigantic deal.

You can see why he’d be happy, he’s just made his company and its member clubs a huge amount more than was ever predicted.

But for all Scudamore has in business nous in which he seems able to have TV companies offering him more money than some countries have in their banks, he lacks any sense of fair play, decency and PR awareness.

Now when you announce your company has just sold off a contract for over £5bn, you need to accept flak is going to come your way and you need to limit that flak with damage control and well thought out strategies.

As soon as Scudamore knew a huge sum of British sterling was heading the EPL’s way, he should have been on the phone to every EPL sides owner or Chief Execs and made a few demands that would curry flavour with the press and more importantly the fans.

First off discuss introducing the living wage for every member of staff that works for an EPL clubs. The football clubs can’t just rely on footballers and managers. They need hospitality staff, cleaners, ticket office personnel and the like. These people help the clubs run smoothly, as a team the staff welcome the fans, tv companies and the sponsors. So why shouldn’t they receive a small slice of that £5b pie?

Well according to Scudamore that is a call for the politicians. He says that politicians have a minimum wage set and its up to them to set it higher in accordance to the living wage.

Well here is my point Mr Scudamore.

What would happen if we allowed politicians to dictate everything that went on in a football club? Maybe they could wage cap players? Lower ticket and merchandise prices? Tax you heavily on every TV and sponsorship deal the EPL make in the future?

Would you be happy to leave it all up to the politicians then?

Furthermore where would this country be if we just allowed everything to be decided by Westminster without any public opinion or stance? Would Mr Scudamore stand back and not give woman the vote? Would he want black slaves? Would he continue to appease Hitler? Let’s face it Ireland would still be in the IK if we all took Richard’s attitude on leaving everything up to the politicians.

Plus football has a great history of fighting unjust attitudes and behaviours.

In 1957, Jimmy Hill and the PFA fought tooth and nail to get the maximum wage scrapped for footballers. They won and soon afterwards Johnny Hayes became the first English player to receive £100 a week.

Campaigns and organisations like ‘Kick It Out’ have been hugely influential in making football a better, fairer place. Before the nineties a racial chant from the crowd was to be expected, now its a huge news story and should never be tolerated.

Football didn’t need politicians as their moral compass back then and it doesn’t now. Its a sport that should lead the way in brining people together.

Now talking about bringing people together.

The EPL boss has also boasted that attendance figures were now at a high of 95%.

Great. But he didn’t say just who were paying the astronomical fees to watch their teams.

It’s well known that the EPL has the highest ticket prices going. Yet they also have the highest tv income. So can’t the TV money offset a reduction in ticket prices and see 98% or even 100% attendances throughout the Premier League with the clubs also dedicating a percentage of seats being made available to schools and charities?

Not according to Richard Scuadmore. He states that it should be up to the individual clubs what they do with the TV revenue.

Funny that the same revenue is generated because of the fact that those same clubs come together and work in partnership with each other.

See the crux of the matter is this… Scudamore and his cronies don’t make the fans a priority. It’s all about lining pockets and filling up bank accounts.

The supporters are the life blood and the clubs are apart of communities. Richard Scuamore doesn’t see that, he sees Manchester United and Liverpool as being the English Premier Leagues not Manchester’s or Liverpool’s or even England’s.

It’s ironic as the EPL sells its soul to become more exposed the fans get pushed further away and the majority of clubs fail to interact with the people on the terraces.

Heaven help Mr Scudmore and the English Premier League if the bubble bursts regarding TV revenue and they come cap in hand begging for supporters forgiveness.

It might cost more in the short term to be a decent company but the long term growth will be consistently greater.

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