Belfast Telegraph

Lower leagues get share of TV money

Premier League clubs have pledged to share at least £1billion of TV money outside of the top flight from next year.

The sum - 20 per cent of their income from the astonishing £5.1billion domestics rights package announced last month - will go to grassroots football, solidarity payments to lower league clubs, participation and education and disadvantaged groups.

The 20 top-flight clubs have also agreed they will all pay all full-time staff the 'living wage' as the bottom line rather than the minimum wage.

In another significant move, Richard Scudamore has been promoted from chief executive to executive chairman and two independent directors have been appointed to a new-look Premier League board.

The league has warned, however, the £1billion distribution depends on a "satisfactory outcome" of Virgin Media's complaint to Ofcom over the way rights are sold, which is being investigated by the regulator, and overseas rights sales.

Scudamore said: "These are unprecedented levels of redistribution in world sport, let alone football, which will deliver long-term progress for English football whether you are a fan, lower league club or involved in the grassroots.

"Clearly this package is dependent on the outcome of our international live rights and the ongoing Ofcom investigation, so the detail won't be known until later this year or in early 2016.

"The clubs have always stepped up to the plate when it comes to sharing their success. They appreciate that the development of the Premier League is contingent to a high degree on continued high levels of passionate support and a vibrant football pyramid."

The investment announced is in addition to the commitment to provide parachute payments to relegated clubs.

The league has made no pledges over ticket prices, however, despite a protest organised by the Football Supporters' Federation at the London hotel where the 20 club chairmen met on Thursday.

League bosses say ticket prices are a matter for individual clubs but that they expect the extra income will be used to fund initiatives such as cut-price trips for away supporters.

As executive chairman, Scudamore will from June preside over a new Premier League board consisting of himself and two independent non-executive directors, Claudia Arney and Kevin Beeston.

Arney - an Arsenal season ticket holder - is a non-executive director of Halfords plc, senior independent director of Telecity plc, and chair of the Public Data Group.

Beeston is chairman of Taylor Wimpey plc, one of Britain's largest house-building firms, chairman of Equiniti Group Limited and Domestic & General Limited. He was a non-executive director of Ipswich, the club he supports, from 2002-2008 and is a Chelsea season ticket holder.

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