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Scottish Football Must Push For More TV Money

Tue 3rd Mar 2015 | Money & Finance

Scottish football urgently needs to attract more money if the game is not to fall further behind its English counterparts, according to a leading sports accountant.

Charles Barnett, a partner in the Professional Sports Group at accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP, believes that the forthcoming £5.136bn Sky and BT Sport TV money -which will run for three years from 2016 - will go into even more inflated players’ wages and put Premier League and almost certainly most Championship signings out of reach of SPFL clubs, driving a further wedge between the game in England and Scotland.

 “This is a further sign of the growing financial gap between Scottish and English football,” explained Charles.

“If Scottish clubs are unable to buy players from the first and second tier of English football then the game will potentially suffer in Scotland in years to come.

“In the future it is likely that Scottish clubs will be buying from the lowest tier in English football which will consequently, and positively, force clubs to develop more home grown talent.

“However, the best of the home grown talent will then be drawn to the third, second and possibly even the first tier of English football so we could see a revolving door emerging where talent is developed here but quickly moves to England.”

Charles believes that broadcasters need to increase the value they place on Scottish football and that by comparison to the English game, Scotland should be getting much more for their broadcasting deals.

“To put the current financial anomaly into perspective the £20m cost of showing two English Premier League games on Sky is more than all of the broadcast fees that Scottish football receives in a year.

“Simple arithmetic indicates that if Sky and BT are happy to pay £1.712bn a year for English football the comparable figure for Scotland should be £142m (Scotland has 8.3% of the population of the UK). To be getting just over one tenth of that at £15m is unfair and unsustainable.”

“The hierarchy of Scottish football must start to lobby for more money. It is unlikely that they will get £142m from broadcasters but even another £20m or £30m, which compared to the investment in the English Premier League is a drop in the ocean, would make an enormous difference to the game in Scotland.

“Football’s administrators need to persuade the broadcasters that we have a product that is widely followed and supported but may disappear or dissipate if sufficient funds are not put into the game in the near future.”

Charles concluded: “Of course the clubs also have to make the game more attractive to fans as well as TV companies, and this will involve greater investment in home grown talent, better facilities, and more affordable ticket prices. More money from broadcasting will help make the game more attractive but clubs need to keep fans going to the grounds and developing a love of the game if it is to last into the next generation.”

Image: Reuters / Russell Cheyne Livepic

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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