Expelling Super League clubs could hit domestic broadcasting cash, experts warn

Joe Gammie, PA
·4-min read

Expelling football clubs joining the proposed European Super league could reduce the broadcasting values of domestics leagues and cups, experts have warned.

Twelve clubs – including the Premier League’s so-called “big six” – have signed up to hugely controversial plans for the new competition.

The plans have been widely condemned by the football authorities in England, plus Uefa and Fifa, as well as by the British Government, and have sparked widespread supporter protests.

Uefa is taking legal advice on the sanctions it might be able to impose, from expelling clubs to banning players from international competition including Euro 2020.

But David Kogan, a former media rights adviser for the Premier League and English Football League, said expelling the six English clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – could lead to a “massive” financial hit for English football.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday: “If you go for the nuclear option, the first thing that happens is in every broadcast contract there’s a clause that says a change of format or competition means the broadcaster has the right to renegotiate or, in fact, terminate the contract.

“So you suddenly face the threat not just for the Premier League but for the FA Cup, for the Carabao Cup, for almost the whole of English football, if you expel these clubs from the structures of English football you are running the risk of having a massive hit in terms of the overall value to the rest of those competitions.

“I think in many ways that’s the sort of loaded gun the six clubs have been depending on.”

Francois Godard, senior media and telecoms analyst at Enders Analysis, told the PA news agency he could not see the clubs being expelled from domestic leagues because it would “hurt everybody” involved.

SOCCER European
(PA Graphics)

He added: “We are in a hypothetical scenario of these clubs being expelled – I can’t see this happening because it will hurt everybody.

“But if this were to happen of course the broadcasters would come and say ‘we will pay less, you changed the product so we want to review the price’.”

Mr Godard said there would still be value in broadcasting the Premier League without some of its biggest clubs, but the value would be less for the remaining teams.

He also said any reshuffling of competitions in Europe was unlikely to increase the pot of cash available from broadcasters.

Mr Godard added: “I don’t see how this new league would increase the pot, so at best you would capture money that’s going to the Champions League and possibly there would be a transfer of spending by broadcasters from a national leagues to this new league.”

Mr Godard said the new league could prove popular in the US or Asia, but it would be competing directly with the Premier League and Champions League.

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He added: “In the US or Asia this new league could be more popular than the Champions League and so maybe they could sell this new league at a higher price, but I think the Premier League could lose there because the Premier League is the chief rival to the Champions League internationally as a product.”

Mr Godard also said the Super League announcement came as the Premier League is set later this year to auction the rights to broadcast the 2022–25 seasons.

Reports suggest this is likely to involve the current holders – Sky, BT and Amazon.

Amazon Prime Video said it had not been in any discussions for the proposed Super League and it understood and shared the “concerns” raised by fans.

BT Sport has previously said the formation of the new league would have a “damaging effect to the long-term health of football in this country”.

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Boris Johnson told the football authorities he is prepared to introduce new legislation to prevent the formation of a European Super League.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman later told reporters that measures under consideration include preventing players of the clubs involved getting work visas and the withdrawal of police funding for match days.

The plans for the breakaway league were also “unanimously and vigorously” rejected by the other 14 members of the English top flight following a meeting on Tuesday.