The Premier League, the top division of English club football, has commenced a search for a new leader after Richard Scudamore announced he will end his long tenure as executive chairman this year.
Scudamore (pictured) will step down by the end of 2018 having first been appointed in November 1999. During this time, the Premier League has grown to become the world’s dominant club football league from a commercial perspective.
Scudamore’s announcement came at the end of a day in which the Premier League made two significant decisions with regards its media rights. Internet company Amazon and pay-television broadcaster BT Sport yesterday (Thursday) acquired the final set of domestic rights to the Premier League for the three seasons spanning 2019-20 to 2021-22, with the fresh UK deals following an initial allocation of rights in February.
Meanwhile, the ‘big six’ clubs succeeded in forcing through a change to the rules which will grant them a greater share of revenue the competition generates from international broadcast rights. Thursday’s annual general meeting of the League saw a new formula decided upon for sharing any future increase in international broadcast revenue from the 2019-20 season onwards, when the competition’s next rights cycle takes effect.
Commenting on his decision, Scudamore said: “It’s an absolute privilege to have been allowed to enjoy this role for so long, it is too much fun to be called a job. Football is an intoxicating environment and therefore difficult to give up being so involved, but my passion for what football means to so many and the positive impact it can make will never diminish.”
He continued: “We could not have achieved so much without the enormous commitment of broadcast and commercial partners across the world. That number will run into hundreds, they have all contributed to our story and I would like to thank them enormously.
“However, I am sure they will forgive me for singling out Sky for special recognition. Back in 1992 they were the catalyst for the start of the Premier League journey and have backed us all the way since, joining forces to see off regulatory and other challenges throughout whilst setting global standards in broadcasting excellence that others have strived to replicate.
“The Premier League is in great shape and the future is bright, of course there are still many things to improve and constant challenges, but that is what makes it so exhilarating. The clubs put on the greatest show; fans, such an essential part of that show, love it both here and around the world. Because it so compelling, the League’s success will continue under new and re-invigorated leadership.”
Bruce Buck, chairman of Chelsea and the Premier League Audit and Remuneration Committee, added: “I speak for all the clubs when I say we are very sorry that Richard will be leaving, but we could not have asked for anything more from him.
“For 20 years he has led the Premier League with distinction. Whilst probably best known for the outstanding growth he has delivered, most importantly he commands the respect of everyone in football for the dignified and positive way he has managed the complexities of keeping the league together and moving us forward.
“The Premier League Board and the Audit Committee have been working on how we will replace Richard and we expect to make an appropriate appointment in good time so there can be a seamless transition.”