Premier League hits out at Ofcom ruling
The ability of English clubs to continue attracting top players will be hit by a ruling from British regulators that caps the amount pay-TV group BSkyB can charge rivals for its sports channels, the Premier League has said.
Describing the ruling by Ofcom as 'misconceived and unjustified', the Premier League, the richest soccer league in the world, said today that the ruling would discourage rival broadcasters from bidding for sports rights.
The Premier League said the decision, which requires Sky to cut rates for its sports channels by as much as 23 percent, 'would make it harder to recruit and retain top talent' and leave less money to filter through to the clubs.
Chief executive Richard Scudamore called the ruling 'ill-judged and disproportionate'.
"Their proposed action will strip out competition for sports rights and hugely reduce the incentives of all bidders, Sky included, to invest in sports rights," Scudamore said in a statement.
"Of course we will be considering Ofcom's findings in full and do not rule out a challenge to protect the interests of fans, clubs and the wider game," he said, without the clarifying the nature of any potential challenge.
Sky have also said they will appeal the decision.
A statement from the League said: "It will be harder to recruit and retain top talent, youth development will come under pressure, investment in grounds and facilities will be deferred."
Sky have had the rights to the Premier League since the division's inception in 1992 and the millions poured into clubs from a series of coverage deals has fired the League to its pre-eminent position on the world stage.
However, even the cash-rich Premier League has started to show the strain of the stratospheric wages played to its leading players, with Portsmouth this year becoming the first club from the division to enter administration. "Ofcom has concluded that Sky has market power in the wholesale provision of premium channels," the regulator said in a statement.
"Ofcom has also concluded that Sky exploits this market power by restricting the distribution of its premium channels to rival pay-TV providers.
Other sports such as rugby and cricket, who also rely on Sky broadcast deals, will be potentially hit by the ruling and the English Rugby Football Union, which is staging the 2015 World Cup, said the decision was a 'disappointment'.
"It's unbelievable how they could take the stance that it is unfair competition as every channel had the opportunity to bid for our rights in the first place," the RFU's business operations director Paul Vaughan told Reuters.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food