Agitator claims EFL clubs are selling themselves well short in TV rights deal
The second-tier English Football League is capable of generating over three times the amount it currently receives in television rights revenues, according to one club owner.
Derby County, one of the leading teams in the Championship, the division below England’s elite Premier League, hosted a meeting of all 72 EFL clubs at their Pride Park home on Thursday to discuss issues raised by their owner and chairman Mel Morris.
Morris (pictured) has been critical of the existing domestic rights deal with pay-TV broadcaster Sky, which runs until the end of the 2018-19 season, with an option for a further year, and is worth £90 million ($111 million) per annum.
He said at the meeting that by televising and streaming more live games than permitted under the Sky agreement, the clubs could net £300 million per year, the Daily Mail reports.
Last month, it emerged that Morris had written to all the EFL clubs and the league's chief executive Shaun Harvey calling for more transparency after he was denied access to the full details of the existing contract for confidentiality reasons. He now wants to take a lead role in the negotiation process for the next deal, and has received backing from counterparts at other clubs.
It is reported that the league is to appoint an independent broadcast rights adviser, but is prepared for Morris to play some part in future talks.
In his letter towards the end of last year, Morris wrote: "I am perplexed and worried by the lack of transparency we as member clubs have over major decisions taken. I expected that these contracts, which are worth millions to each of our clubs, would simply be provided freely and willingly. Sadly, this was not to be the case. Worryingly, these contracts apparently included a confidentiality clause, implying that their contents cannot be shared with any of the clubs whose rights they exclusively determine. Why?"
He added: "There is a simple, effective and low cost solution to this. I would like to solicit your full support to help me propose and vote for a resolution to amend the regulations and or articles of the EFL, to ensure total transparency in respect of all major dealings that have a significant monetary impact on our clubs. I firmly believe that such a change will be pivotal to maximising the full potential of our revenues in the short, medium and long term, and provides a much needed check and balance."
Sky is committed to show 127 live matches from the three EFL divisions this season, and its deal also covers the EFL Cup, England’s secondary knockout competition, which involves Premier League and EFL clubs, and the lower-tier Checkatrade Trophy.