Reasons to think that the Premier League is not in control of its own destiny

by Tony Attwood

Gary Hoffman has left his job as chair of the Premier League after just 18 months in the job.

The reason is that the 18 clubs other than Newcastle and Manchester City didn’t like the way they were not consulted over giving the Saudi sovereign wealth fund the ok to buy Newcastle.  It seems the clubs were simply sent an email to say the deal was done, after the media started to run the story.

There had previously been anger about his engagement in Project Big Picture – a plan arranged by Liverpool and Manchester United wherein the big clubs would take over control of the running of the Premier League, and in return would agree to more money filtering down the pyramid.   He was also in charge when the Super League project broke.

It is thought that a number of clubs (excluding Newcastle and Manchester City in particular) have been in favour of new laws to restrict ludicrous sponsorship deals such as Official Tractor Sponsor, and “related party transactions” which involve organisations involved in the club, then giving extra money to the club by way of alleged sponsorship of another one of their businesses.

And it is not just the making of crazy sponsorship that is causing the problem, it is also the fact that there seems to be no relationship between the deal and the actual market value of the deal.  They are just ways of making more money and thus endlessly breaking Financial Fair Play rules.

The plan is that the Premier League clubs will meet on 30 November to change their rule book so that further commercial deals involving a company outside the club will have to be approved by the Premier League first.

All of which just looks like kicking out a man they don’t like.  Except that it reveals some pretty appalling facts about the way the Premier League is run.

For example, the guy ran the PL, decided that the Saudi takeover of Newcastle was a jolly good idea and then, as an afterthought said to himself, “perhaps I ought to tell the clubs.  I’ll send them an email.”

At one level that looks utterly ludicrous, but then we already know that the Premier League has allowed itself to get into the position in which it has no control at all over the organisation that is in charge of the referees.

Now of course we might say that this is fine.  You don’t want clubs influencing which referee gets which match, as happened in Italy.  But on the other hand, the PGMO is currently operating in such a way that one referee, who last season awarded more fouls per match against Arsenal than anyone else except Mike Dean (who was restricted to one match) will take charge of a third of all Arsenal games this season.  (At least he will if the current pattern is maintained, and our protests have no effect).

So the clubs can do nothing about weird stuff happening within PGMO, and seemingly also don’t control the management of the League and don’t have the power to influence who owns a club.

However, I suppose the League can feel pretty secure in its own position, because it managed to oppose the European Super League, so on that basis, they probably feel ok.  Although come to think of that, I am not too sure what they are going to do as and when the Super League comes back – once the final court cases in Europe are decided.

One is left with the feeling that no one has bothered to look at the rulebook of the league in relation to the modern world – and in particular in relation to the way football is changing.

Which really seems weird.  The aim of the Premier League is for it to take control of its own affairs, but then they just hand over control to one guy who meanders along making up decisions, while no one seems bothered about refereeing.  

Odd that.

Anyway, here’s a final note from Wikipedia.  I can’t verify if it so.  “In July 2021 it emerged that internet bank Monzo, which Hoffman is the current chairman of, was under investigation for potential money laundering breaches.

Rewriting the Saudi Arabia takeover of Newcastle


5 Replies to “Reasons to think that the Premier League is not in control of its own destiny”

  1. Tony,
    I fully concurr. The PL is a multi-billion dollar business. And such a decision about who onws one of the clubs is taken by one guy who then just notifies all clubs ?!?! This is totally, utterly, bonkers. One even wonders if it is legal ?!? And I just cannot fatho how the owners who have invested their own money and are gambling on it can acept that kind of distorsion without even eacting ?

    What is the PL ? A sect ?

  2. Yet another investment banker that was head hunted to run a sporting organisation (the Premier League) in order to maximise the financial strength of the said organisation on behalf of the participating business enterprises (i.e billionaire and millionaire owners of the premier football teams). The old boys’ network soldiered on, appointing a wealthy banker with links to a football team (Coventry City ), until it appears that certain wealthy owners became disillusioned that they had not been sufficiently consulted over the new ownership of Newcastle united, by this chairperson of the Premier League. Hence, resignation after only 18 months in post! Now the Premier League will begin to search for a replacement. You could not make it up!

    I predict that another set of wealthy bankers will be considered as possible candidates, provided that such candidates are white males, that show an Oxbridge background, emanating from a public school education etc, etc.

    Perhaps a member of the Hill-Wood family of merchant bankers could be available as an interim or acting chairperson. That might make some Arsenal followers sit up and take note!

  3. Goodness me AKH, if the Hill-Woods returned I might be tempted to hand in my season ticket. They were the gang who kicked out the most successful owner we ever had.

  4. Tony,
    I’ve had a blank…seriously, who was ‘..the most successful owner we’ve ever had.’?
    Do you mean Dein?

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