Warning over BT ‘windfall’

English clubs should be wary of the “huge windfall” from BT Sport’s staggering new Champions League deal widening the gap between the biggest clubs and the rest in domestic football, a senior figure in European football has warned.

The £897m (€1.069bn) deal, running from 2015-18, should see English clubs’ earnings from the Champions League increase by £15m (€17.8m) to £20m (€23.8m) a year. It will cover both the Champions League and Europa League, and is double the £400m ( €476m) currently paid by Sky and ITV.

Umberto Gandini, organising director of AC Milan and first vice-president of the European Clubs’ Association, believes that the riches of the Champions League will now need to be spread more widely.

He also sees it as an example of why there is little appetite among Europe’s elite clubs for a breakaway competition. Gandini said: “This is great, great news for the Premier League clubs and if you add up the Premier League’s domestic and overseas broadcasting contracts, the matchday revenues and commercial revenues then the business is looking very strong. But what I see as a problem is because of the great advantage the Champions League gives you in the domestic leagues, you are hearing people say you need to enlarge participation in the Champions League.

“I believe the way it is structured right now is very good and the new English contract is a great example of that, but it would be wise to address the problem of (income to) the Europa League, we have to consider that.”


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