AHEAD OF THE GAME: Collapse of Ligue 1’s TV deal opens up opportunity for top-flight English sides to raid cash-strapped French clubs, while FIFA are following NFL’s model of setting up their own streaming service with an eye on the 2030 World Cup
- A TV deal crisis in Ligue 1 has alerted Premier League clubs keen to find bargains
- The Premier League’s new deal is likely to deter future Saudi Arabian investment
- The FA are yet to appoint a chief executive for the planned 2030 World Cup bid
Premier League clubs will focus on raiding the French market when the transfer window opens next month, in anticipation of making some bargain signings due to the collapse of the Ligue 1 TV deal.
Spanish company Mediapro terminated their £2.75billion contract to broadcast the top two divisions in France just five months into a four-year contract last week, leaving all clubs other than the Qatar-backed Paris Saint-Germain facing financial meltdown.
Canal Plus are in advanced negotiations with Ligue 1 about buying the rights, but the French broadcaster are understood to be offering around £365million less each season than Mediapro were paying, so many clubs will be forced to sell players to make up the shortfall.
Lille lynchpin Yusuf Yazici could attract English interest after Ligue 1’s TV contract fell through
Lille’s Jonathan Bamba is also likely to be in demand as Premier League suitors seek to swoop
To compound matters, French clubs were already suffering financially as a result of the decision to declare last season null and void at the start of the pandemic, which led to them paying a rebate to Canal Plus and other broadcasters.
Arsenal and Newcastle are among the clubs seeking to take advantage by revisiting their interest in Reims’ Senegal striker Boulaye Dia, while Lille’s Jonathan Bamba and Yusuf Yazici will also be in demand.
West Brom’s search for a firefighter lacked spark
West Bromwich Albion did not display the most original thinking when considering replacements for Slaven Bilic, who was sacked this week.
Roy Hodgson and Mark Hughes made a shortlist dominated by experienced managers who have been around the block more than once. On Thursday they alighted on that firefighter extraordinaire, Sam Allardyce.
Roy Hodgson (right) was among the targets for West Brom;s vacancy alongside Sam Allardyce
Saudi suitors soured by Premier League’s new contract
The Premier League’s announcement of a new £367million TV contract with Qatar-owned BeIN Sports is likely to deter future Saudi Arabian investment in English clubs.
A group of Saudi businessman are understood to have sought to negotiate a separate TV deal for the kingdom in an attempt to solve the piracy issue that derailed the Public Investment Fund’s takeover of Newcastle.
But the Premier League opted to maintain their policy of selling the rights for the Middle East and North Africa region collectively, with BeIN winning the auction. The new three-year deal will continue to cover Saudi despite their conflict with Qatar that has led to BeIN’s Premier League broadcasts being blocked in the country since 2017.
Manchester United were linked with a £4billion buyout from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier this year that failed to materialise and Derby’s takeover by Sheik Khaled’s Derventio Holdings has been hit by delays.
The Premier League has announced a huge new TV contract thought to be worth £367million
Stream dream for FIFA could create classic archive
FIFA are set to launch their own direct-to-consumer streaming service. Initial content will feature offerings with little commercial value, such as FIFA youth tournaments and Esports. But there are plans to build a vast World Cup archive of classic matches.
The NFL have shown that the so-called over-the-top model, in which live games are streamed direct without an external broadcast partner, can be extremely lucrative with its Game Pass service popular throughout the world, as FIFA have noted.
FIFA have sold TV rights for the next two World Cups, but are keen to explore the growing trend toward streaming.
FIFA are looking in to the possibility of a new streaming service as part of their World Cup offer
FA lacking a leader as it looks towards World Cup bid
The FA are yet to appoint a chief executive for the UK’s planned 2030 World Cup bid following the departure of Robert Sullivan, who left the governing body for a new role running the Football Foundation earlier this year.
Sullivan was in charge of the proposed bid, which has gained the backing of and significant funding from the Government, as part of his international remit at Wembley.
The FA are expected to make an external appointment next year with the intention of formally launching their bid in 2022, but they could withdraw their candidacy if China enter the running. FIFA are planning to announce the hosts in 2024.
FIFA are expecting to announce which country will be the host of the 2030 World Cup in 2024