Public pressure leads to increase in shared funding – but all is not quite as it seems…
Following the Share TV Wealth campaign, which included a Football Supporters’ Federation petition, demonstration and meeting with the Premier League, the PL has announced increased funding for grassroots facilities, solidarity payments to lower leagues, sporting and educational initiatives, and support of disadvantaged groups. Significantly, there is also a new commitment to funding work in relation to the matchday experience and fan engagement.
The total spending represents £1bn of the £5.14bn TV deal.
The FSF said, “The announcement of these increased funding streams is a welcome one and we are particularly pleased with the new funds aimed at match-going supporters.
“We look forward to continued dialogue between fans, clubs and the Premier League as to how this money is spent. Supporters must be at the heart of the decision making process; every club’s fan base has different needs, and addressing these requires proper dialogue.
“Additionally, we welcome the news that the Premier League is to become a Living Wage employer and that its clubs will be required to do likewise.”
However, as Glenn Moore in the Independent points out, the package is not quite as generous as the headlines appear. The total amount of TV money with add-ons will likely reach over £8 billion. The £1 billion, it must be remembered, is over three years and over half the amount will probably go in parachute payments to those clubs relegated from the PL, leaving less than £500M to be spread between all the other areas mentioned.
Likewise the PL’s commitment to pay the Living Wage only applies to clubs’ own full-time employees, when the bulk of people who are paid the minimum wage in football are part-time and/or contracted staff. There’s still more to be done on this issue.