Money must be put into grassroots football and into reducing ticket costs.
Yesterday a mind-blowing £5.136bn was agreed with the Premier League to sell television rights to its fixture for three seasons to Sky Sports and BT Sport, beginning in 2016 – and the deal is an incredible 71% increase on the previous agreement.
£4.2bn of the above sum was paid for by Sky, an 83% increase, as they have been granted five of the seven packages on offer, while BT coughed up £960m, an 18% rise, for the remaining two, reported the BBC.
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Leading politicians Clive Efford and Helen Grant have spoken out over the new multi-billion-pound deal; expressing their desire for the Premier League to finally start giving back to the people who have the made the league so prosperous – the fans.
Clive Efford, the Shadow Minister of Sport claimed that it would be “nothing short of criminal” if the cash does not go towards the struggle grass-roots football continues to face:
“These are incredible sums of money. We’ve got the richest league in the world and precious little of the money is actually reaching the grassroots of the sport,” Effort said in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.
“At the outset, the Premier League gave an undertaking to the government that they would put 5% of TV rights into grassroots sports, and that just hasn’t happened,” Effort continued.
FA Chairman Greg Dyke last October admitted that grass-root football in the country is “in crisis” – however as Effort states, the record deal is more than capable of going towards solving the crisis – yet whether clubs will put their hands in their pockets, even with pockets so full, remains to be seen.
What’s more, Helen Grant, the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Equalities noted the incredible agreement as “a great British success story”, however the deal should arguably only be considered a success story if it, as Grant states, offers “increased benefits to clubs lower down the football pyramid”.
The 53-year-old is more than aware that the Premier League is the strongest it has ever been – yet the “bedrock” that has made English football so successful – the fans – must now start to be rewarded for their efforts:
She urges for “further investment in facilities, and supporters, who are the bedrock of the clubs that they follow,” Grant told the BBC.