A big story emerged from The Athletic late last night, revealing that all 20 Premier League clubs will have to repay their share of £762m in lost broadcast revenue (£38.1m each) should the 2019/20 season be called off.
As revealed by The Athletic, the massive bill would come due to a ‘breach of contract in terms agreed for domestic and international rights’ should the league fail to reach its conclusion – stating this was communicated to all 20 Premier League clubs during yesterday’s ‘crisis meeting’.
With this in mind, Newcastle – along with all 19 other Premier League sides – would have to pay £38.1m EACH if all 38 games are now played out and the league isn’t completed.
For those who haven’t subscribed, here’s a snippet from The Athletic’s piece:
Premier League executives have been told it will cost them £762 million in lost broadcast revenue if the 2019-20 season fails to finish due to the coronavirus, The Athletic can reveal.
The huge figure would come due to a breach of contract in terms agreed for domestic and international rights and was communicated to all 20 clubs during the crisis meeting at Premier League headquarters in London on Thursday morning.
The suspension is understood to be costing Sky, one of the two main domestic broadcasters, huge amounts per day as they are not charging many sports customers and cannot attract the same in advertising.
The clubs receive broadcast money twice a year, in August and February, so only recently received the cash for the end of the season.
Some clubs are determined to get games played behind doors so they don’t lose the broadcast money, such is their vulnerable financial position. Their outgoings — players’ wages in particular — are so high that they fear they cannot survive without it. They want games to go ahead and players to be regularly tested. Training grounds would be sealed off and players “wrapped in cotton wool” to protect them from contracting the virus.
They feel it is not long until staff at Premier League clubs would have to be laid off, as has been the case at Lyon in France today. Some players in Germany have donated their wages so non-playing staff can stay employed. This is something many Premier League clubs would be in favour of.
Other clubs feel games behind closed doors is unrealistic and that the players will refuse to play if they feel their health or those around them is at risk, especially if the rest of the country is isolating to prevent the spread of the virus.
Rather than attend in person, a representative from each club dialled in to the conference chaired by Claudia Arney, the Premier League interim chair, to limit the potential spread of the disease, and the response to the massive price of curtailing the campaign early was said to be sanguine rather than shock. Those in charge of top-flight clubs accepted the consequences of being unable to fulfil fixtures would be significant.
That is why, along with issues around competitive integrity, there remains a “100 per cent” commitment to completing the season whatever it may take, including the prospect of staging matches behind closed doors. The Athletic has previously reported on the potential for litigation if there is no relegation or promotion, aside from matters of European qualification.
It emerged from yesterday’s ’emergency meeting’ that Premier League chiefs and the vast majority of clubs remain committed to completing the season in full – and we can now see why!
That said, one thought struck me as soon as I read news of this £762m bill from broadcasters – Are Sky and BT Sports going to pay back our subscription fees if the league isn’t completed?
It only seems fair, with any cancellation meaning they haven’t delivered on their promise of showing X number of games throughout season, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and the season is completed safely, with the behind closed doors option seeming like the only realistic way of getting it done as things stand.