Leading Article: Football will win if we defeat this cartel
Tuesday 12 January 1999
Fears have been expressed that new plans to redistribute money from the Premiership to lower divisions and grass-roots football would be put in danger by liberalising the television market. The Football Task Force, in its first report, argued that such a redistribution was imperative if the game were to survive the scandalous selling off of millions of acres of playing fields that has marred the last few years. If the pounds 743m paid by the TV companies for the right to Premiership football were to fall, then reinvestment could indeed be threatened.
But there is no inherent reason why this should be so. If the clubs were to sell their games individually, it could open up viewer choice and stimulate proper competition for the rights; it will probably bring in more money, to the benefit of all. Football's problem is not the amount of cash it generates in total but the fact that, since the Premiership broke away, the rights to that money have been concentrated at the top. There will be every opportunity, even if rights are sold to individual games, to put new structures in place to redistribute that income.
Opposition to change is based not on logical economics but on the conservatism that pervades English football, from the amateurism of the Football Association to the insistence on the merits of the physical "English game". The sooner real competition is allowed, with different companies free to experiment with their coverage and to attempt to outstrip their rivals, the better.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 3 How much sex should I be having?
- 4 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
- 5 Betting company 'refuse to pay' after student wins £1,000 from 50p bet on Roger Federer
The 1975 leave social-media after tweeting cryptic comic strip hinting at break up
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Winner Matisse had secret dog double, says owner Jules O'Dwyer
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Vote reveals Jules O'Dwyer beat Jamie Raven by just 2% despite using 'stunt dog double'
Top Gear to follow Have I Got News For You format with 'different host for each episode'
Britain's Got Talent final 2015: Ofcom receives 90 complaints about Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden's 'revealing dresses'
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history