AHEAD OF THE GAME: EFL worry over Leeds owner's role in snubbed buyout

AHEAD OF THE GAME: EFL worry over Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani’s role in rejected £300m buyout due to potential conflicts of interest

  • Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani was involved in a rejected buyout of the EFL 
  • Radrizzani has no financial stake in American equity firm who made the offer
  • The fact he made the introduction sparked concerns over conflicts of interest 

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani was involved in the offer of a £300million partial buyout of the EFL by American firm TPG Capital, which was rejected by chairman Rick Parry last week.

Radrizzani has no financial stake in the private equity firm. But the fact he made the introduction sparked concerns at the EFL over potential conflicts of interest, given the Italian owns a club who until four months ago were in the Championship, as well as the television network Eleven Sports that hold the rights to broadcast Premier League matches in much of Europe.

Parry was also unhappy with the terms of the deal, with TPG offering £150m up front and the rest in staged payments over five years in return for a 20 per cent stake of the EFL and a 51 per cent vote on all commercial deals, including television rights.

The EFL have received numerous offers of investment from private equity companies seeking a stake in the bottom three divisions, but are more likely to pursue a loan, as first revealed by Sportsmail in August. 

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani was involved in the offer of a rejected partial buyout of the EFL

COVID-19 CLAMPS DOWN ON CHAMPIONSHIP 

The financial impact of Covid-19 is biting at many Championship clubs, who between them have made about 500 members of staff redundant since June. 

Many executives are deeply uncomfortable with back-room and administrative staff on average salaries of £25,000 being let go to enable clubs to keep paying players earning the same amount each week. 

The financial impact of the pandemic is understood to be biting at many Championship clubs

BIG SIX FURY AT FIVE-SUB SNUB 

The Premier League’s smaller clubs may live to regret their defiance in the face of the Big Six’s demands to be allowed five substitutions this season, a proposal that was voted down twice in two separate shareholder meetings this summer.

The Big Six’s anger at being unable to force through a change adopted in the rest of Europe’s top leagues is understood to have emboldened Liverpool and Manchester United in demanding governance and voting reform, which was a key part of Project Big Picture and will be up for discussion when the Premier League begin their strategic review in the next few weeks.

The Big Six remain unhappy that the smaller clubs could outvote them on what they see as a key issue, which they fear could harm their chances in the Champions League and Europa League because they are playing by different rules in domestic competition. One of the most controversial elements of Big Picture was a governance change that would give the Big Six a block vote veto, a demand that is unlikely to disappear.

Manchester United (owned by the controversial Glazer family – above) and Liverpool have been emboldened in demanding governance and voting reform

SKY AND BT SPORT MAY LOSE MONEY FROM PAY PER VIEW  

Sky Sports and BT Sport could lose money from their foray into offering pay-per-view matches, which begins with Southampton’s visit to Chelsea on Saturday, as their costs will only be covered if they attract enough paying customers. 

While the exact revenue distribution formula varies according to the number of subscribers, Premier League clubs are aiming to raise about £40million from the venture, a projection which would also enable the broadcasters to make a small profit. 

Sky Sports and BT Sport could lose money from their foray into offering pay-per-view matches

PREMIER LEAGUE TV DEAL DELAY 

The Premier League are likely to delay the bidding process for the next TV deal amid the fall-out from Project Big Picture.

Tender documents for the 2022-25 media rights are due to go to broadcasters in the new year to start a process that usually lasts several months. But with the future structure of the top flight forming part of the Premier League’s strategy review, there is no prospect of going to market until TV companies know what they are buying. 

The Premier League are hoping to complete the review by Christmas, but given the complex nature of the subjects up for discussion – which include the distribution of TV revenue as well as competition structure – many executives are sceptical about clubs reaching an agreement by then.

The financial impact of Covid-19 and uncertainty over when fans can return to stadiums is another reason the Premier League may postpone the auction, as they are reluctant to invite bids in a depressed market.

The Premier League are expected to push back the bidding process for the next TV deal 




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