The Big Six clubs are playing hardball with their TV rights demands ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League summit, which is crucial to executive chairman Richard Scudamore keeping orderly control of the top flight.
It has emerged that one of their minimum demands is a 35 per cent share of overseas money, allocated by position in the table rather than being shared equally. The Manchester clubs, Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool had been seeking 40 per cent to reflect the fact that they drive the massive foreign interest.
Scudamore is under enormous pressure to deliver a deal and his authority over the richest league in the world may never be the same if he fails to achieve the required 14-6 majority.
Until this issue, Scudamore had been the greatest champion of collectivism. He was furious when the Big Six first showed their colours by having a private huddle in the middle of a PL meeting to discuss a proposed TV deal with China last November.
But Scudamore realises it will be the elite clubs who will have to play at different times over the weekend most often as a part of the next TV deal — and he needs them on-side.
Newcastle could join West Ham, Leicester and Everton in voting with the Big Six. But that means four clubs still need to be persuaded and the other 10 are standing firm, with some gathering on Tuesday night to reaffirm their opposition.
There is only one motion on the table. But if the vote goes against the Big Six, compromises will be needed on both sides to ensure the issue doesn’t end in open conflict — and currently only the smaller clubs are prepared to move.