Football League criticises ‘missed opportunity’ despite financial boost for Yorkshire’s clubs

Despite receiving a welcomed financial boost, the Football League has described the Premier League’s renewed domestic television deal as “a missed opportunity”.

The deal is set to give Leeds United the security of knowing the current arrangements have been protected, and the Football League is one of many parties sharing an extra £100m.

England’s top division has bypassed competition law in return for trickling more of the £4.8bn it receives from 2022 to 2025 down the football pyramid. Already £1.5bn was passed on over three years.

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Amid concerns the value of the deal might drop by £500m to £900m if opened to auction, the Premier League acquired Government permission to renew its existing domestic arrangement with Sky, BT, Amazon and the BBC but the Football League thinks rebalancing English football’s finances should have been a condition.

The extra £100m will be spread thinly with more than 1,000 non-league clubs, women’s and girls’ football, Leagues One and Two, the Football Foundation and football-wide projects including looking at head injuries in football, anti-discrimination and fan groups all set to benefit.

Covid-19 and on-field results have highlighted the widening financial gap between the top division and the rest.

With the play-off winners to be confirmed, of the six teams who swapped places between the Premier League and Championship - which will not receive extra money - at the end of last season, only Leeds are certain not to immediately return to their previous division. The Premier League’s other relegated team, Sheffield United, were only in their second season back at that level.

A Football League statement argued “what is more urgently required is a fundamental reset of the game’s financial model - in terms of fairer distribution of monies and sensible, realistic cost control measures. The announcement appears to have been a missed opportunity for the Government to obtain a commitment from the Premier League to address the financial imbalance between the top division and the rest of football.”

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The deal is yet to be rubber-stamped, with interested parties given until the end of the month to raise objections.

The pre-pandemic agreement of 200 live matches a season – 128 on Sky, 52 on BT and 20 on Amazon – will continue.

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BANKED: Luke Ayling is blocked off by Sergio Reguilon at Elland Road last weekend. Picture: Bruce Rollinson