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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 February 2015

TV football deal: Reclaim the game for the fans

John Reid

The football Premier League's new TV deal with Sky and BT broadcasters offers mega-riches to the 20 Premier League teams, but little reward to the lower leagues. It will give the top tier of clubs £5.2 billion between 2016 and 2019, this is 71% higher than the previous deal.

Once the overseas rights are sold, the club finishing top of the Premier League will receive £156 million and the team finishing bottom will receive £99 million - this from TV money alone. Cash from televised matches will average out at a staggering £10.19 million a match.

It would be possible for Premier League clubs to allow fans in for free and still make a profit! However, ticket prices have gone up 1,000% since the advent of the Premier League in 1992. Working class people, especially the young, have been priced out of the game, there has been an element of 'social cleansing' in this.

The Championship (football's second tier) is Europe's fourth largest league in terms of match day attendances, but it will not share much of this wealth. Indeed, Championship clubs will go further into debt chasing Premier League status. The 24 Championship clubs currently have debts of around £1 billion.

The 72 League clubs will receive only crumbs off the table, with the mega-rich clubs becoming even richer and the rest moving nearer to extinction.

Premier League executives and agents are paid millions of pounds a year. The average Premier League footballer is paid £2.3 million a year. Manchester United's Wayne Rooney is on £300,000 a week.

Yet, apart from Chelsea, Premier League clubs will not commit themselves to pay club staff the national 'living wage' of £7.85 an hour (£9.15 in London).

At the top level there is mega-wealth but under Labour and Tory governments over 5,000 playing fields have been sold off and those remaining are, in the main, inadequate. Investment from the Premier League in community and grassroots football is £168 million, just 3%.

Money from the new TV deal could be used to help football at every level, instead of buying up talent from all around the world.

The money should be used to:

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In The Socialist 25 February 2015:


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