SYDNEY, Oct 17 — Richard Scudamore, who oversaw the English Premier League’s growth into a vast commercial giant, has been appointed a “special advisor” to help reinvigorate Australia’s domestic competition.
He joins as the A-League transitions from the control of governing body Football Federation Australia and towards an independent structure run by the clubs.
The move, which is due to be legally finalised soon, will give club owners greater say over the league’s strategic and commercial direction following several years of declining television ratings and crowds.
FFA will instead focus its energies and resources on Australia’s national teams and grassroots football.
Paul Lederer, chairman of the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association, said Scudamore would visit regularly this season, providing “strategic counsel and tactical input”.
“His leadership of the English Premier League saw the organisation become renowned for its commercial success as well as its contribution to other leagues and communities,” Lederer said in a statement late yesterday.
“That’s obviously something we are committed to replicating.”
Scudamore is credited with driving the huge commercial success of the Premier League, particularly in domestic and overseas television rights.
He was responsible for, and accountable to, club owners for all elements of the League’s competition and business strategy, commercial development, operational capability and regulation.
When he took over as chief executive in 1999, the Premier League’s domestic television rights deal was worth around £670 million (RM3.4 billion).
Sky and BT Sports agreed to pay nearly £4.5 billion to show 160 games between 2019-20 and 2021-22, while the overseas rights earned the league a further £4.2 billion.
“I am obviously delighted to be involved at such an important and exciting time for the professional game in Australia,” said Scudamore, who retired from his EPL role in November last year.
“The strategic planning that has taken place is impressive and I believe I can very much help build on that work. The Australian game has so much potential for growth and global resonance.”
The A-League first kicked off in 2005 in an eight-team format and, while growing, it continues to battle dwindling ticket sales and tumbling TV ratings as it struggles to compete for attention against rugby league and Australian rules football.
This year’s competition, which kicked off last weekend, has been expanded to include an 11th team — Melbourne-based Western United — with a 12th planned a year later in a bid to create new rivalries and opportunities for players. — AFP