Wigan Chairman Believes Individual TV Rights Deal “would kill off half the Premier League”

October 13, 2011

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has ridiculed Liverpool’s plans for clubs to sell their own television right, suggesting the move “would kill off half the Premier League”.

Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre earlier this week stated that the Merseysiders were prepared to lead a bid by Premier League clubs to negotiate their own individual overseas TV deals, though the idea that has already been met with open criticism.

The league’s broadcast rights outside of the United Kingdom are presently sold in a joint package, which is worth £3.2 billion ($5bn) for 2010-13 to be shared equally among the 20 clubs.

But Ayre believes the system is unfair on the higher-profile clubs, arguing they attract more viewers and more subscriptions, and advocated the adoption of the Spanish model whereby individual clubs have the freedom to negotiate their own packages.

But Whelan, who has led Wigan’s rise from the fourth tier of English football to the Premier League, has dismissed the idea totally.

“It is absolutely scandalous,” Whelan said. “It is the ‘American Dream’, this. They are thinking ‘How can we get more money’?

“But you won’t get more money by killing the heart and soul of the Premier League and of football in England. It would kill Wigan Athletic. It would kill Blackburn. It would kill off half the Premier League.”

Whelan is not alone in his opposition to Liverpool’s plans, with Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea all stating they would rather collectively sell tv rights.