, Sky Sports EFL deal savaged by Championship clubs

Sky Sports EFL deal savaged by Championship clubs

Money flows like a river through professional football in England, no more so than at the upper echelons like the Premier League.

An indication of this is the current deal that governs Premier League screening rights, Sky Sports winning that round of bidding to the tune of £4.46bn for 160 top-tier games. That deal runs from 2019/20 to 2020/21.

Before that the media giants bid an astronomical £5.14bn to screen live games between 2016 and 2019. The figure agreed on was an eye-watering 71% more than the previous deal that was struck.

Football – it is awash with money when it comes to the Premier League.

Two days ago the English Football League signed off on a similar deal with Sky Sports to show EFL games (including all play-off games and Carabao and Checkatrade trophy finals) – but the money agreed upon was more pocket change than mega-bucks.

The £595m paid by Sky Sports to secure these rights was 35% more than the previous deal, but much, much less than the Premier League deal for around the same number of live games to be shown.

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said, in words carried by the BBC, that “financial security” of their member clubs was paramount in their minds, with the BBC saying that their understanding was that the “nine-member EFL Board unanimously agreed to the deal” and that this unanimity included representatives of “three Championship clubs, Reading, Brentford and Bristol City.

However, this unanimity does not wash well with the majority of Championship clubs, representatives of who met today to thrash out their concerns.

With the EFL under direct fire with such accusations, you can guarantee that this is a debate that will continue to rage. Clubs such as Derby County, Aston Villa and Leeds United (who have seen a huge number of games televised and switched around) are amongst the 21 Championship clubs said not to be happy at the fetters placed on them by the deal.

Chillingly, and with portentous overtones, the statement from the Championship clubs ended with the following:

If it was a war that the EFL wanted with their decision to push ahead with the Sky Sports deal, then it looks like they may have their wish.

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