The stinky problem with the plan was that the brilliant idea of mending the huge gap between the two leagues 28 years after the Premier League breakaway was shrouded in the ugly idea of control by the so-called big six clubs, and it looked like another. Break away.
The fact that the Henry and Glazer ‘project’ called for each Premier League club to slice up eight live games per season to be sold internationally through their own streaming platforms meant that control of votes looks like a plan to split up future rights to their own treasure chests. Liverpool, United and the other big clubs see that streaming will potentially become an important source of revenue for the fans that the big names and the attractiveness of their clubs have garnered around the world.
That period during the 2019-22 TV deals, which were sold for £ 8.6bn – the EFL deal is £ 360m over the same three years – was still likely to produce a battle of the six for a bigger part next time. Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive who held the original TV cast for so long, ultimately presided over the cession of parts of international rights to the top six. Henry had publicly insisted on this.
Scudamore announced he was stepping down almost the same day, the end of an era. Candidates for his replacement found reasons apparently not to take on one of the sport’s big administrative jobs, before Richard Masters, then the league’s commercial director, was brought up and put an end to the search.
Perhaps Liverpool and United, having seen the vehement backlash against their attempt to control the votes, could temper it with this strategic review and other arguments to come in the next round table. Perhaps they will push with the same demands. The Glazers were bold enough to buy United with £ 525million of borrowed money, then charge the club and their fans for all spirit-sapping costs; Henry is a billionaire with a very clear view of the potential value of his assets on a global scale, and he has won a battle over international rights.
Even without the threat of a European breakaway to realistically handle, the Six do not hesitate to remind others that they represent a very large part of the television audience. Even if the 14, three of which change every season, dig into and keep the arrangements as they are – and their own brackets of over £ 100million – the Champions League will inevitably stretch from 2024, so that the big participating clubs will get richer anyway.
But the surprising difference in the takeover plan this time was the 25% redistribution offer to the EFL. Since 1992, when the Premier League clubs of the Football League parted ways to keep all the money for satellite TV and left the other three divisions abandoned and angered, no other consolidation of power has offered more power. sharing with the pyramid. Hence the strange spectacle this week of the vast majority of EFL clubs welcoming the easing plan it could bring to their interminable financial struggles, even though it was generally denounced as a greedy take by the richest.
Some EFL clubs believe that this prospect will remain on the table thanks to this strategic review. But on the same day, Premier League clubs announced a bare minimum of the £ 250million short-term crisis fund that EFL president Rick Parry was seeking: just £ 20million guaranteed for clubs League One and League Two, with more available. to be sought in the form of loans.
Even at this point, one can imagine a possible dark outcome of the review, where some ugly parts of Henry’s plan, more power and money for the big clubs, are conceded, but no progressive part.
Football’s deeply uneven, unsatisfying and wobbly status quo has been reaffirmed, for now.