Glazer to face TV deal battle

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The Independent Football

The Premier League's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, believes Malcolm Glazer would find it "almost impossible" to organise a revolt against the collective television-bargaining deal.

The Premier League's chief executive, Richard Scudamore, believes Malcolm Glazer would find it "almost impossible" to organise a revolt against the collective television-bargaining deal.

Glazer's £790m takeover of Manchester United means the club are in the red to the tune of £540m. Once his feet are under the table, it seems certain the American businessman will start to scrutinise the Premier League's TV bargaining arrangement, which is due for renewal.

It is believed United would gain more in media revenues than the estimated £50m they currently earn annually by negotiating their own contracts, particularly in the lucrative Far East market.

However, Glazer would require another 13 clubs to side with him on an issue that United's former chief executive Peter Kenyon once put to a vote at a Premier League meeting only to suffer a 19-1 defeat. Scudamore feels Glazer would struggle for support, saying, "The Premier League is blessed with a very conservative constitution. Fourteen clubs out of 20 need to vote to do anything.

"So it is almost impossible, and we have seen it in the past, for a small group of clubs to come along and achieve an alteration to what has been a very successful formula, both in terms of the way we do the TV deals and also the way we distribute the money.

"Many have tried, but to get to 14 out of 20 is an amazing thing. It's very hard to see what benefit there is. There is none in terms of moving away from the collective selling deal for a vast majority of the clubs. The Premier League's strength is founded upon its collective selling and of selling of TV rights throughout the world, which is the biggest issue and we will be making sure it is protected."

The Newcastle chairman, Freddy Shepherd, concurred, saying: "The Premiership chairmen aren't going to line dance to Malcolm Glazer's tune over television rights. Glazer has to remember this is not American football, and that what he has done with television deals in the past in the USA may not be legally achievable here."

The Middlesbrough chairman, Steve Gibson, believes Glazer should be given time.

"I don't understand the hysterical response," he said. "I have watched with some distaste what has gone on outside Old Trafford. I can't see that it's football to burn an effigy of a man that no-one knows and has never met.

"He is not doing anything illegal, he is working perfectly within his rights, but it's given one or two nobodys an opportunity to be somebodys by expressing anger against a man they have never met. It's not civilised and it's not football. I hope it calms down, and quickly."

The identities of the three US hedge funds which have backed Glazer's takeover, have been revealed, meanwhile. Citadel, Och-Ziff Capital Management and Perry Capital have put £275m into the bid.

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