FourFourTwo’s 10 most influential people in football right now
1. Richard Scudamore
The Premier League’s status as a relentless money-making machine is largely thanks to its executive chairman Scudamore, the 57-year-old who joined the organisation in 1999 and has overseen a vast expansion of its global reach and income. The latest television deal is worth more than £5bn, and that’s just for the domestic market – the global deals are becoming more and more valuable too.
The best players in the world might play in Spain, but it’s still the Premier League that fans from London to Laos can’t seem to take their eyes off.
Because of its position and spending power, any decision made by the Premier League has far-reaching implications. Scudamore’s critics say that the wealthy elites could be doing more to help clubs lower down the league pyramid, as well as providing more money to fund grassroots football and secure the future of the game. For all the cash involved, there’s less and less live football available to watch for free, and that’s bound to have implications further down the line.
Of course, Scudamore’s focus – and the reason he gets paid a reported £2.5m a year – is to keep the Premier League at the top of global football. This vastly experienced operator could be in for a challenging few years on that front. The threat of China’s new spending power seems to have been short-lived, but Brexit is the next potential iceberg for Scudamore to navigate.
Already, the spending power of Premier League clubs has been diminished by the collapsing pound, and it could mean a return to restrictive work permit rules for EU transfers; it’s estimated that more than 100 current Premier League players wouldn’t be eligible under potential new rules.
Scudamore has said he wants to see a new Premier League winner every six years, and has plans in place to try to encourage more Leicester City stories. But if all the world’s best players are in other countries, even British viewers might eventually switch over. AK