Leeds United and fellow Championship clubs vow to step up fight against EFL's Sky deal
A group of Championship clubs have warned the EFL that they will 'ensure the matter is not left here' after publicly voicing their anger with the governing body's decision to agree a new broadcast deal with Sky Sports.
In a pointed statement issued on behalf of a number of unnamed teams, the group criticised the EFL for refusing to heed concerns about Sky’s five-year contract and described themselves as being “gravely concerned” about the implications of the agreement.
The EFL signed a £595m deal with Sky on Monday night, to the anger of the Championship clubs who were urging the EFL to delay a decision and renegotiate the terms of a contract which starts next season and runs to 2024.
Sky’s financial commitment represents a 35 per cent increase on its previous deal but Leeds United and other sides in their division were opposed to the offer on various grounds, believing a better and more lucrative arrangement was possible.
Officials from all 24 clubs have met repeatedly over the past month and gathered again this morning to consider their response. They are understood to be pondering legal action and offered a thinly veiled threat by promising to pursue their complaints.
A statement published after today's summit said: “Championship clubs are gravely concerned that the EFL board has announced it has approved a new long-term domestic broadcasting rights deal.
"Nineteen clubs from the league wrote to the EFL asking them not to sign the proposed deal and to engage in meaningful discussions. This was ignored.
“The clubs discovered that in the space of 15 months, without our knowledge, material changes had been made to this draft agreement. When the EFL board presented the new version of the deal, it gave more games and rights for less money and damaged the ability of clubs to control the decision to stream games and its pricing.
“Our issues are not with Sky, who we respect and value, but with the way in which the proposed agreement has been negotiated and explained to clubs.
"We remain convinced that any solution to the broadcasting of EFL competitions can only be on the basis of protecting attendances and securing the financial position of all our 72 clubs.
“There is a calm determination within Championship clubs to ensure the matter is not left here.”