AHEAD OF THE GAME: Media chief Stephen Allan touted to replace shamed Greg Clarke at the FA as Premier League’s pay-per-view fiasco hits TV rights value
- The FA are set to look externally to find a replacement for shamed Greg Clarke
- West Brom have denied suggestions of an ownership change at the club
- Sky and BT Sports hope to renew their TV rights coverage at a discounted rate
- Football League clubs are angry over the sanctioning of Derby’s proposed sale
Media executive Stephen Allan is a left-field contender to become the new FA chairman if the governing body opt for an external appointment to replace Greg Clarke, which appears to be their most likely course of action.
Sportsmail can reveal the former chairman and chief executive of MediaCom, one of the United States’ largest cable TV networks, reached the final two candidates to become Premier League chief executive last year before the top flight appointed David Pemsel, who never took up the role due to media revelations about his private life.
Allan left MediaCom after 12 years as global chief executive last summer, ending a 38-year stint at the company, and would welcome a new challenge to go alongside his work for charity Rays of Sunshine, a project he founded that gives life-enhancing experiences to terminally ill children.
The FA are looking for a new chairman following the departure of Greg Clarke from the role
Former MediaCom chief Stephen Allan (left) has been touted as a left-field contender
The FA are yet to confirm their process or timescale for replacing Clarke, but will welcome external applications as there are issues surrounding the most likely internal candidates.
At 72, Baroness Sue Campbell is over the FA Council’s age limit for the position, which they refused to lift to permit David Bernstein to stay on seven years ago, while Paul Elliott may prefer to focus on being elected to UEFA’s executive committee after his impending appointment to the FA board is belatedly confirmed next year.
Mystery surrounding West Brom ownership suggestions
Mystery surrounds suggestions of an ownership change at West Bromwich Albion, despite the club’s public insistence that nothing has changed.
Ownership of the club’s parent company, Yunyi Guokai Shanghai Sports Development Ltd, has been transferred from Guachuan Lai to Mrs Ya Sha Ge, according to accounts filed at the international directory Orbis.
To add to the intrigue, West Brom changed the name of their training complex last week from the Palm to the Monster Energy Training Ground. The alteration appears significant because Palm is the brand name of one of Lai’s other Chinese companies.
A group of West Brom fans, Shareholders 4 Albion, have contacted the Premier League asking for clarification on the ownership situation, but it has not yet been forthcoming.
Pay-per-view fiasco hits TV rights value
The viewing figures for the first two rounds of the Premier League’s doomed pay-per-view experiment —abandoned after last weekend’s games — are being seen in the industry as good news for the top flight’s main rights-holders Sky Sports and BT Sport.
They will now hope to renew their contracts at a discount when the auction for the 2022-25 rights cycle takes place next year.
The doomed pay per view experienment could lead to a future discount on TV rights
Despite being a decent moneyspinner for the clubs, the average viewing figure of 39,000 suggests there is only a limited demand for direct-to-consumer sales, which does not appear to be big enough to challenge the Premier League’s established broadcast model based on selling rights to subscription channels.
The Premier League raised around £5million for selling two rounds of matches — 10 fixtures in total — direct to supporters, whereas Sky and BT are currently paying around £8m per game over the course of the current three-year deal, a price which is likely to come down.
Sky and BT are also expected to play hard-ball during the negotiations, not least because they are unhappy at being blamed by the Premier League for the unpopular move to pay-per-view.
Anger over Derby’s proposed sale
The involvement of Derby chief executive Stephen Pearce in the Football League sanctioning the club’s proposed sale to Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan has angered rival clubs and is the source of considerable embarrassment to many at the EFL.
As one of three Championship directors on the EFL board, Pearce was in the crucial meeting last week at which the EFL gave the takeover the green light. Other directors felt he should have left the room.
The matter was not put to a vote, so Pearce did not directly influence the outcome, but many view his dual role as a clear conflict of interest, particularly as he could benefit financially from Derby’s sale.
Derby chief Stephen Pearce’s role in the club’s sale has angered other Football League sides