Leeds United and West Brom have been handed a major promotion boost by unlikely sources Sky Sports and BT Sport, according to Times journalist Martyn Ziegler.
Alarm bells were ringing at Leeds after it was widely reported that the bottom clubs in the Premier League were lobbying for relegation to be taken off the table in return for their support for playing the remaining fixtures in neutral venues.
If relegation was taken off the table, it could have threatened promotion from the Championship.
However, Ziegler has said, “Broadcasters fiercely oppose scrapping relegation saying to do so would breach their contract.”
NEW: Plan to show some PL games free on YouTube & the majority on Sky & BT's pay TV platforms, plus a few on Amazon. Also: broadcasters fiercely oppose scrapping relegation saying to do so would breach their contracts: https://t.co/SAPpoNA3cf
— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) May 4, 2020
In the accompanying report Ziegler said, “Senior figures in the broadcasting industry have also told The Times that moves to scrap relegation — as at least one top-flight club is proposing — would risk making the TV contracts invalid as it would turn many of the remaining games into little more than meaningless friendlies.”
The Premier League is under big pressure to finish the season because of the money that could potentially have to be paid back to broadcasters – said to be over £760m.
The title is effectively over with Liverpool 25 points clear so the relegation battle is going to provide the chief focus for the remaining fixtures.
That’s brilliant news for Leeds and West Brom, the two sides clear in the Championship, and the pressure the broadcasters are likely to apply – with Ziegler talking about breach of contract – should ensure that relegation is applied.
This would necessitate promotion from the Championship, however that league is decided.
The one thing this doesn’t do is force the bottom clubs to vote for Project Restart – with a meeting now set for Monday – and their threat to veto remains on the table.
However, the threat of having to repay TV money could surely be applied to these clubs by the Premier League and ultimately we think that would make the rebels capitulate.
We certainly hope so.
In other Leeds United news, ‘Impossible’ – Alan Shearer delivers dire warning to Leeds fans after major setback reported