Shaun Harvey has announced that he is to step down from his position as chief executive of the English Football League at the end of the 2018-19 season.
His departure means that the three biggest bodies in English football will all be searching for new chief executives this year, with the Football Association’s Martin Glenn set to leave his post in May and the Premier League still searching for a replacement for Richard Scudamore, who stood down in December.
Harvey had been in the role since October 2013, and has enjoyed a mixed tenure over his six years in charge. The news is likely to be welcomed by several clubs in the second-tier Championship, many of whom were nonplussed by Harvey’s decision to sign a £595m television deal with Sky, which they considered to drastically undervalue the rights.
The controversial changes made to the EFL Trophy, previously contested by teams from the third and fourth tiers of English football but now open to under-21 sides from the Premiership and Championship, will also be part of his legacy. This season saw a record-low attendance for the competition when just 202 people watched Middlesborough’s academy team beat Burton Albion.
In 2016, he oversaw the rebrand which saw the 130-year-old Football League become the EFL, in an attempt to modernise the brand and gain greater traction in the international market.
“Having joined the EFL as chief executive in October 2013, I am proud of what we have achieved since then, in what have not always been easy circumstances,” said Harvey in a statement in which he defended the decisions made during his tenure.
“Consistently during my time, I have always looked to push boundaries to make the maximum positive impact for clubs, whether this be from a financial perspective or by generating value in another way. I have always held the view that the strength of the EFL is its clubs and no club, or indeed individual, is bigger or more important than the collective or the EFL itself.”