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Sport Broadcasting Legislation Update

Statement made on 8 November 2021

Statement UIN HLWS366

Statement

I am repeating the following Written Ministerial Statement made today in the other place by my Honourable Friend, the Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, Nigel Huddleston MP:

Following my Written Ministerial Statement of 8 September, I would like to further update the House on the making of an Exclusion Order under the Competition Act 1998 regarding the Premier League’s domestic broadcasting agreements.

In that statement I confirmed that the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) had concluded that there were exceptional and compelling reasons of public policy to make the proposed Exclusion Order.

The statutory instrument was laid on 14 October 2021 and came into force yesterday, 7 November 2021. This will allow the Premier League to renew its current UK broadcast agreements with relevant broadcast rights holders for a three-year period, on substantially the same terms, without carrying out the normal tender process. This is a temporary measure undertaken in response to the financial strain placed on the sector by the pandemic, and will secure the release of over £1.6 billion of funding for the entire football pyramid, including grassroots, women’s and lower league football.

As part of the agreement to make an Exclusion Order, the Premier League has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise their financial commitments to the football pyramid with the Government. The MoU has been published on gov.uk alongside this statement. The Premier League has also passed a shareholder resolution confirming the funding as below, and is contractually obliged to deliver many of these agreements. The MoU gives the Government further assurances on the agreed financial commitments as set out below:

  • guarantee existing levels of financial support for the football pyramid for four years from 2021/22 to the end of the 2024/25 season. This includes solidarity payments, parachute payments, youth development funding and funding for grassroots football at existing levels, worth over £1.5 billion over the three-year rights cycle;

  • maintain at least this level of funding even if its international broadcast rights decrease in value when they are re-tendered individually over the next year into 2022, and to increase the level of funding if its international broadcast rights exceed their current value; and

  • provide a further minimum £100 million in solidarity and good causes funding to the end of the 2024/25 season. This will include: additional solidarity payments to National League and English Football League (League One and League Two) clubs; investment into the professional and grassroots women’s game; funding for grassroots community facilities; investment into youth players’ pathways; and funding for projects to improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and combat discrimination within the game. This investment will make a significant difference to the whole football pyramid and community.

The Premier League will update the Government and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee annually on progress against these financial agreements and the impact this funding has had on the pyramid.

This Exclusion Order is an exceptional and temporary measure in response to the pandemic. The normal tendering process is expected to be followed for subsequent broadcast rights agreements. The Exclusion Order will expire, at the latest, after the end of the 2024/25 Premier League football season or on 31 July 2025 (whichever is earlier). It does not apply to broadcasting rights beyond that season and the normal tendering process is expected to be followed for subsequent broadcast rights agreements.

Linked statements

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sport Broadcasting Legislation Update
Nigel Huddleston
Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society
Conservative, Mid Worcestershire
Statement made 8 November 2021
HCWS378
Commons