October 16 – Former Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has been parachuted into Australia’s A-League as a ‘special advisor’ in a bid to the clubs to turnaround the commercial fortunes of the country top professional competition.
Scudamore oversaw the spectacular growth of the Premier League revenues from £148 million in 1998 to £3.2 billion in 2019. A number predominantly driven by television rights fees for the Premier League product.
The A-League is in the process of untethering its control from Football Federation Australia (FFA) towards an independent structure where the day to day running of the league and its commercial sales are handled by the clubs.
Scudamore in his advisory capacity will be present at A-League planning meetings, workshops and will visit clubs. His influence has already been seen in initial changes to promotion, broadcast access and refereeing in the league.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Scudamore was perhaps more effusive than he ever was with British media where he shunned interviews and public profile.
“Reaching any league’s full potential requires clear purpose and focus on what has to be done,” he said. “Australia is taking that step now by dividing responsibilities from the governing body which will reveal opportunities unavailable to the game until this point. The game’s status as the biggest Australian participation sport speaks volumes as to where it can get to and those opportunities become more significant the more the A and W-Leagues evolve.
“The global football economy is significant and growing. Australia’s share of that economy is moist definitely not what it should be. There are many factors that have led to this situation but I know from so many other examples around the world that domestic professional leagues are the key to rectifying it, delivering regular season-long football that drives passion and interest.”
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