Premier League Seeks Quick Resolution to Financial Redistribution Talks with Football League
The Premier League is aiming to reach a financial agreement with the English Football League (EFL) in the coming weeks, in an effort to address political criticism surrounding the distribution of money in English football. The league has informed its 20 clubs that it hopes to swiftly conclude the long-running talks and provide additional funding of over £100 million annually to the EFL. While further details of the “New Deal” for football remain unclear, the communication to clubs, including Arsenal, Manchester City, and newcomers Luton Town, suggests that negotiations may finally be nearing an end.
However, reaching an agreement may still prove challenging due to the complexity and significance of the deal, according to an executive involved in the discussions. The talks have primarily focused on the proportion of “net media revenues” or combined broadcast income that the Premier League would agree to redistribute to the 72 EFL clubs. In March, it was revealed that the Premier League had offered a £30 million annual cash sweetener to secure a deal, but progress has been slow since then.
One club executive stated that Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, is hopeful that a resolution can be reached quickly. An update on the negotiations is expected later this month. Sources on both sides of the table have indicated that the EFL’s desired formula for calculating the sums it would receive has changed during the process.
The communication from the Premier League comes at a time of heightened scrutiny over the potential impact of the significant sums being spent by the Saudi Pro League on player signings from around the world. In June, the culture, media, and sport select committee of MPs urged the Premier League and EFL to urgently agree on funding provisions throughout the English football pyramid. The government has also expressed the need for reform in financial distributions in English football, citing a £4 billion gap between the revenues of Premier League and Championship clubs in the 2020-21 season.
The proposed additional funding of £125 million per year, put forward by the Premier League in March, would be in addition to the current system of “solidarity payments” made to Championship and other EFL clubs, totaling £110 million per year. Championship clubs, excluding those receiving parachute payments, received £4.8 million last season, while League One and League Two clubs received £720,000 and £480,000 respectively. Relegated Premier League clubs received £44 million in their first season in the Championship in 2022-23, followed by £36 million in the second year and £16 million in the subsequent season.
The Premier League has declined to comment on the ongoing discussions, while an EFL spokesperson has confirmed that talks are still in progress.