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Premier League calls emergency meeting amid ‘New Deal’ settlement deadline

Premier League calls emergency meeting amid New Deal settlement deadline

The Premier League has called an emergency meeting on February 29 in a last-ditch effort to finalise a long-standing financial settlement with the English Football League (EFL).

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer is scheduled to publish legislation for an independent football regulator, cranking up the pressure on the Premier League. 

Sky News reports that this crucial summit aims to hammer out a revised ‘New Deal’ proposal that can be presented to their EFL counterparts.

The urgency intensifies as Frazer prepares to publish the Football Governance Bill later this month, granting a new watchdog powers to impose a financial settlement should the top flight fail to reach an agreement with the lower leagues. 

Voting options on the ‘New Deal’ will be available at the February meeting, with an additional one scheduled for March 11 if consensus isn’t achieved among the 20 Premier League shareholders.

The proposed deal carries a hefty price tag for Premier League clubs, estimated between £837-£925 million over six years, with the final figure hinging on an £88m payment for the current season. 

Frazer had previously urged English football’s professional clubs to resolve their differences over this settlement, expressing her preference for a voluntary agreement before the new regulator asserts its authority.

Talks around the ‘New Deal’ have dragged on for months, seemingly nearing agreement on a £925m package last autumn before stalling over unresolved differences. 

Premier League Chief Executive Officer Richard Masters halted further discussions in December due to internal divisions regarding the scale and structure of the deal. 

However, he recently indicated renewed constructive talks at a shareholders’ meeting this month.

While some EFL clubs appear resigned to a regulator-imposed settlement, others believe the government’s timeline stretches the process, placing the regulator’s official intervention no sooner than 2026. 

This delay fuels anxieties among Premier League clubs over the significant financial burden and the uncertainties surrounding the regulator’s power and other financial reforms driven by the top flight.

The £4 billion financial chasm between Premier League and Championship clubs in the 2020/21 season highlights the need for a solution.

Reaching an agreement before March could provide much-needed clarity and financial stability for clubs across the pyramid and prevent the government from imposing a potentially less agreeable outcome through the independent regulator.

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