Premier League

Broadcasters want Premier League relegation

Amongst the options discussed last week at a meeting of key stakeholders for restarting the Premier League season, was a proposal to play all the remaining games behind closed doors at a number of neutral venues, in order to restrict unnecessary travel. 

A number of clubs, particularly those from the bottom end of the table were opposed to that idea, arguing that it would undermine the integrity of the competition, and that depriving them of the chance to play their remaining home games would put them at a disadvantage when it comes to beating the drop.

However, a growing number of them have indicated that they would be prepared to compromise their position if the threat of relegation was taken off the table. In that case, they would be competing for places and prize money only, safe from the drop into the Championship, which even in a good year could cost a club up to £60 million in lost revenue.

However, all those plans could now be scuppered by the major broadcasters, Sky Sports and BT Sports, who have insisted that relegation needs to be at stake if they are to resume broadcasting again, especially as games staged in empty stadiums would rob the sport of much of the spectacle that makes TV viewers watch them. More importantly for the Premier League, they have warned them that, if there is no relegation, then they could be in breach of contract.

And the broadcasters really have the whip hand here, given the substantial sums of money that will be owed to them if the season is not finished, with reports suggesting that the figure could be as high as £762 million when overseas rights are taken into account.

All this makes for an interesting dynamic and makes it less likely that a consensus can be reached amongst Premier League clubs in terms of a way forward.  Those at the top of the table will want to finish the season to determine European competition places. Mid-table sides will want to protect themselves from the loss of TV income.

However, clubs at the bottom of the league faces a quandary. For some, cancellation of the season now might be an attractive alternative, provided that relegation was ruled out. Others may have to balance the lost income from broadcasters against the potential impact of playing in the Championship next season.

We may not be able to read the minds of these club owner but what do know for sure is that there are no easy answers to ever increasing questions amidst this pandemic.

Charles I Adebiyi Administrator

Comment here