In as selfish a move as an organization has made in recent times, the Premier League is willing to risk the health of their players, staff and fans in a attempt to avoid TV contract rebates of up to £762 MILLION.
The Premier League are reportedly working on aa plan to restart the season behind closed doors on the first weekend of May with a scheduled finish date of Sunday July 12.
The proposals, which will be discussed in detail on a conference call of the 20 clubs on Friday, would need to be approved by the Government, public health bodies and the PFA.
Hopefully at least one of those organizations will be strong enough to stand up and say how bad an idea this is.
The UK is under a government mandated lockdown with shops, pubs, restaurants and businesses all closed and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has banned almost all social events and public gatherings.
What world are the Premier League club living in where in a month’s time they think they can take police officers away from enforcing the lockdown to stand outside empty stadiums to keep fans away? Ever more egregious, is that every Premier League games would require medical attendants and ambulances, people and things that surely could be better suited saving the lives of the public?
But like most things, this comes down to money and greed. The Premier League’s best-case scenario of a May resumption stems largely from their obligations to and financial reliance on broadcasters, who have a watertight £3billion-a-year deal which expires on July 31, with next season’s deal kicking in the following day.
It is understood that under the terms of the TV contracts the cut-off point to finish this season is July 16, and if the campaign is not completed by that date Sky Sports, BT Sport and the international rights-holders could demand rebates totaling as much as £762million.
The broadcasters are pushing the Premier League to provide clarity as soon as possible, as they are losing subscribers at a rapid rate and want to know when they can expect their schedules to return to normal.
A restart in May is seen as vital as that is when the clubs are due to receive their final tranche of television money for the season, without which many will struggle to pay the players’ wages. The £762m of combined income under threat is not divided equally and would range from £57m for the Premier League winners to £20m for the team who finish bottom.
Ironically, the bigger clubs stand to lose more than usual this season if those payments are withheld following last year’s changes to the distribution of the overseas television deal, which, unlike the domestic deal, is no longer divided equally but determined by league position.