AHEAD OF THE GAME: Top-flight power struggle over new TV deal plans

AHEAD OF THE GAME: Premier League clubs embroiled in a power struggle over plans for new top-flight TV deal… while the deafening silence from club legends has increased scepticism over Daniel Ek’s Arsenal plans

  • Some Big Six clubs believe they can get an increase on the £1.5bn-a-year TV deal
  • They also want to broadcast some matches on their own channels
  • Many of the remaining 14 clubs want a three-year extension on current teams
  • Meanwhile, Arsenal’s Invincibles haven’t spoken out on Daniel Ek’s Arsenal bid
  • Ek says Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira are supporting him 

Premier League clubs are split over proposals to extend the current domestic television contract with existing rights-holders or run a tender process — a plan revealed by Sportsmail last year.

The issue is set to be a litmus test for the balance of power in the top flight following the collapse of the European Super League proposal.

A number of the Big Six are convinced they can secure an increase on the existing £1.5billion-a-year domestic rights deal by selling some of the TV packages to streaming services such as DAZN, Amazon and Disney.

Several Big Six clubs are seeking more money than the £1.5bn-a-year domestic TV deal

They are also pushing for the right to broadcast some matches on their own club channels.

However, many of the remaining 14 clubs would prefer the certainty of a three-year extension with Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon on the existing terms; a view shared by the Premier League, who are lobbying the Government to endorse an extension amid concerns that not holding an auction could breach competition law.

The Government are understood to be receptive to the proposals, which if signed off would represent a rare victory for the Premier League’s also-rans over the Big Six.

A number of the Big Six are looking to broadcast some games on their own channels


EFL clubs could turn out to be losers amid the collapse of the European Super League project, despite the threat it posed to the football pyramid.

Chairman Rick Parry had formed a surprise alliance with the Big Six by endorsing the Project Big Picture proposals last year, reasoning that the financial redistribution on offer and potential for abolishing parachute payments would be worth any disruption for his 72 clubs.

The swift demise of the ESL plan has removed the Big Six’s leverage, however, so the other 14 Premier League clubs will be able block any radical reforms, including those that would have increased funding to the EFL. 


The deafening silence of Arsenal legends Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp regarding their involvement in Daniel Ek’s takeover attempt has increased the club’s scepticism about the Spotify founder’s bid.

The trio have been widely reported to be working with Ek on a £1.8billion takeover, but none of them have offered the Swedish entrepreneur their public endorsement.

Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer Henry has given several major interviews over the last week, supporting the social media boycott and the protest of Arsenal fans against Stan Kroenke’s ownership, making his apparent reluctance to back Ek in public all the more intriguing.

Ek broke his silence in an interview with CNBC earlier this week, claiming he had secured funds for a bid he described as ‘very serious’ without going into detail.

Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira (left to right) have stayed quiet over Daniel Ek’d bid to buy Arsenal


The FA are backing proposals from UEFA to conclude the Champions League with a mini-tournament from the semi-final stage when the new format begins in 2024.

The success of last season’s ‘final four’ in Lisbon after the first wave of Covid-19 has led UEFA to consider making the change permanent, in the hope that hosting the latter stages in one venue over a week would increase its commercial value.

The FA’s motivation for endorsing the change is different, with the governing body reasoning it would ease fixture congestion. 

The expansion of the Champions League to 36 clubs each playing 10 matches in the group stage from 2024 has created a problem for the FA, because the extra games will take place in slots previously allocated to the domestic cup competitions. 

FA are backing UEFA’s plans for a mini-tournament for Champions League’s final four teams


Crystal Palace have delayed the opening of their academy training ground until July to enable England manager Gareth Southgate to conduct the ceremony.

The former Palace defender has accepted the club’s invitation to open the state-of-the art facility, but his availability is limited this summer due to preparations for England’s European Championship campaign.

Palace have therefore opted to put back the official opening from May until after the tournament, although some of the pitches are already in use. 

Crystal Palace will wait for Gareth Southgate so he can open their new academy ground

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