ALL three of English football’s main governing bodies are searching for a new leader after Shaun Harvey confirmed he will step down as English Football League chief executive at the end of the season.
The 48-year-old has been in charge of the Football League since October, 2013.
He had previously worked exclusively in Yorkshire, starting as club secretary at Scarborough before following Geoffrey Richmond to Bradford City as chief executive. Harvey filled a similar role at Leeds United.
“After discussions with the board,” he said in a statement, “we decided that the time is right for the EFL to now move in a different direction having concluded a number of commercial contracts that leave the league in a stable position.”
Harvey has come under increasing pressure from several Championship clubs unhappy about the domestic broadcasting deal he struck with Sky last year.
Almost half the clubs in the Championship believe £590m over five years is not enough money for the number of games Sky have been given.
The deal was also seen as too long at a time when the market for sports rights is changing so quickly and that not enough protection has been given to the clubs’ own streaming businesses.
There has also been criticism of Harvey’s approach to the job, with many of the bigger clubs saying he does not consult them on broadcasting or sponsorship deals. Complaints from clubs at the other end of the EFL’s spectrum have also been made about the growing financial gap.
Harvey has also had to deal with protests from fans about the EFL’s inability to tackle controversial owners.
Most of these issues are not exclusive to the EFL or even football. Harvey can also point to several areas where he and the League have taken the lead, most notably in pushing for more opportunities for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) coaches and safe-standing.
The number of clubs in financial crisis has also fallen on his watch as cost controls have forced clubs to live more within their means, and revenues have improved slightly over his tenure.
Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn announced his intention to leave last year, while Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore has already done so.
Harvey is understood to be interested in Scudamore’s old job, but no details have been released in terms of what he intends to do next.