The Premier League’s ‘big six’ clubs have lost their battle to secure more money from the lucrative overseas broadcasting deals.
Earlier this month, it was decided additional consultation was needed over whether to move away from the current rules which see the growing revenues from non-domestic markets shared evenly.
However, in a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the Premier League announced a planned meeting for further discussions had been cancelled after it had “become clear that there is currently no consensus for change”.
The top flight’s big-hitters – Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham – believe they should get a bigger share of the foreign broadcasting contracts because of their greater popularity abroad.
A two-thirds majority would be needed to change the current set-up, and Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore had hoped to persuade at least 14 of the 20 clubs to back the proposal when they met in London on October 4.
Scudamore’s proposed compromise is to allocate 35 per cent of the overseas pot according to final league position, which is a similar formula to how the domestic rights are shared out.
Last season, this would have given Chelsea an extra £12.4million and reduced Sunderland’s take by the same amount – but, with the Premier League’s overseas income rising faster than its domestic revenue, this differential would grow.
However, the Premier League confirmed any plans for a move away from the status quo would now be shelved, at least in the short term.
“Clubs have been discussing the distribution formula for their international broadcasting revenues. The Premier League has facilitated these discussions, to bring together the wide range of views which exist,” a Premier League statement read.
“It has become clear that there is currently no consensus for change, meaning (Wednesday’s) club meeting is not necessary.
“The way the Premier League operates, clubs can bring forward a proposal at any time. In the absence of a significant majority in favour of doing things differently, the current rules will apply.”
Global rights for the Premier League are only expected to increase, which has focused attention on a revenue stream that was not worth arguing about when the structure was set up in 1992.
The apparent setback to brokering a new arrangement could well revive talk of breakaway leagues and clubs selling their own rights, bringing an end to a 25-year truce that has seen the Premier League become a leading national export and the world’s richest football league.
There remains a unique quality in the Premier League brand, which continues to throw up shock results such as Huddersfield beating Manchester United on Saturday.
Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins addressed the matter in his programme notes ahead of the home match with the Terriers on October 14.
“In my opinion, competitiveness is the most important single factor that makes the Premier League so appealing across the world – and this must be protected at all costs,” he wrote.
“Yes, the so-called big clubs are undoubtedly the main focal point for many, but ask any true football supporter, and they will tell you that winning games week in, week out without opposition is no fun.”