Premier League faces divisions over distribution of TV rights money

Ahead of the upcoming next round of TV rights bidding , Premier League clubs are divided over how the lucrative overseas money deal should be split.

Since the formation of the Premier League in 1992, overseas TV rights money has been divided equally amongst the competition’s 20 clubs. However, the league’s big six are now lobbying for this to be altered, citing that they’re responsible for foreign broadcaster’s desire to show English football.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham have all pushed for 35% of the income that is currently split equally amongst top flight clubs, to instead be distributed as prize money based on league standings.

The notion was unsuccessfully put forward to the league’s other 14 clubs by Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore, with only Leicester, Everton and West Ham supporting the new proposal.

The overseas television money in question last season amounted to £781.8 million, a figure that’s anticipated to grow upon the negotiation of the next deal, which is likely to take place over the next year, and will begin at the culmination of the current deal in 2019.

The top six are pushing for the overseas TV rights money to be distributed with similar principal as the UK rights money, which after issuing each club a guaranteed £35m, is distributed out based on league standings and how often a team is featured on Sky Sports and BT Sports.

This isn’t the first time English football’s bigger clubs have pushed  for a greater share of TV revenue, in 2011 former Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre lobbied for a change in the way foreign TV revenue is shared out, controversially stating that: “In Kuala Lumpur, there isn’t anyone subscribing to ESPN to watch Bolton.”

For the plans to be pushed through, 14 teams are required to vote for the proposal, which despite longstanding lobbying from English football’s big hitters, seems unlikely as 11 of the 20 Premier League clubs are reported to be staunchly against the change.

Clarity over the situation is likely to be closer next Wednesday after a meeting involving all Premier League clubs takes place, to confirm how the rights should be distributed fairly.

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