How Premier League ‘big six’ losing battle over European Super League can benefit Yorkshire’s clubs

THE abandonment of the European Super League plan should have positive financial ramifications for Yorkshire clubs.

That is the view of Dr Rob Wilson, a football finance expert at Sheffield Hallam University. He says a potential diminishing of the power of the ‘big six’ clubs who signed up to the renegade league and who are now on the equivalent of the ‘naughty step’ can have knock-on effects when the next domestic TV rights deal for the Premier League is thrashed out next year.

Wilson said: “I genuinely think the ‘big six’ have shot themselves in the foot a little bit because historically, the six clubs have had a lot of leverage over the other 14.

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“When the Premier League renegotiated the last share of the international TV rights, it should never have been passed, but the ‘big six’ managed to bully a number of the other 14 and get it passed.

“I wonder whether this ESL move – as it has been so out of order – will have shaken the power that they have in the Premier League and the 14 clubs left behind are thinking: ‘You know what, this lot are out for getting as much as they can get’.

“So the ‘big six’ might find it harder to get things their own way and that could mean better reform and better share of the TV rights where if you finish lower down the table, you get a bit more rather than the current situation where the ‘big six’ have still got European competition.

“The domestic TV rights deal for the Premier League gets negotiated next season. Had their been a European Super League on the table, naturally the competition value would have gone down, which would have reduced the TV value and had a knock-on effect to parachute payments and solidarity payments which affects Yorkshire clubs significantly.

“Not withstanding Covid-19, you’d probably say the deal would plateau, so you might get £4.5 to £5 billion (total deal) and the payments relatively the same for those below the Premier League.”

DIFFERENT LEVEL: Leeds United and Liverpool clashed at Elland Road on Monday night in the Premier League, while fans came together outside the stadium to protest at the proposed European Super League, a scheme which has since collapsed. Picture: Simon Hulme
DIFFERENT LEVEL: Leeds United and Liverpool clashed at Elland Road on Monday night in the Premier League, while fans came together outside the stadium to protest at the proposed European Super League, a scheme which has since collapsed. Picture: Simon Hulme

In regards to English football, the buzz word doing the rounds and impossible to ignore following the spectacular rise and fall of ESL has been ‘regulation’.

Following the failed breakaway, there seems to be a renewed appetite at Governmental level to examine the game’s finances and ownership and see whether football needs regulating by an independent body, but Wilson is cautious as to what will happen next.

“The Government backlash seems to be the thing that tipped English clubs into withdrawing on the strength of the Prime Minister and Oliver Dowden (DCMS Secretary of State) in bringing fan-led reviews forward and doing everything they can to prevent this (ESL) happening.

“They also talked about windfall taxes and financial penalties. I think the ESL was so outlandish as a concept that it illustrated the need for better governance and fans involvement. Whether that will happen, I am more ‘suspect’ about as the clubs are so big and governments often posture over getting involved.

FEELING THE BENEFIT: Huddersfield Town and Barnsley could see a positive knock-on effect from the collapsed proposals for a European Super League. Picture: Tony Johnson

“I remember that when Leeds were having some issues with Ken Bates, the Government postured and tried to exert pressure. But they tend not to do anything as they don’t have too much jurisdiction.”

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Rob Wilson, football finance expert at Sheffield Hallam University.