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Monday, November 19, 2018

£5 million pound golden goodbye.....

Although not directly non league related, there is a story that has caught my eye this week about Richard Scudamore leaving the Premier League and being paid a £5 million pound discretionary bonus, on top of his multi million pound annual salary and other benefits received, as a thank you for the work he has done in helping to establish the Premier League as arguably the leading brand in world football. This has caused all sorts of reaction across the game and the reaction from the Non League world has been one of disbelief, outrage and anger, like much of what has been said across other levels of the game.

I for one only share this feeling up to a point. Should a multi-millionaire be awarded a multi-million pound bonus for performing his role so well that he has played a key role in growing the Premier League brand to a place where it commands record TV and sponsorship deals and ensures that all members of the Premier League are in a better position in terms of earnings than any other league in the world? The answer for that is surely yes! In any industry in the world, if a business leader had generated the results that Richard Scudamore had and the money he has done so for the Premier League as a whole, then the bonus he has been offered would be viewed as being very well deserved. The Premier League in its time has also created a charitable trust that does some great work in the community and invests large sums in community schemes so has for a long time now had an eye on its corporate responsibility. He's worked, and worked hard and has achieved some great results so does deserve to be paid well for his efforts. 

All the clubs who are currently benefiting from this work by him were asked to contribute £250k each to make up this sum, and the vast majority said yes. This is where it creates a problem. Football is a game that relies on everyone playing its part, but the decision just seems to be another case of the elite looking after themselves and making themselves even richer with the money that gets generated by all of us in the game! Does Richard Scudamore really need another £5m? I would like to think the answer is no and his work has already been rewarded over the time he was working for the Premier League. Could / should that money be spent elsewhere, I would say most definitely yes!

Many in non league have said this money should be shared around non league / grass roots football, but how and where would this money be spent? Who gets to decide if a club is worthy enough of it and once you do what should the club be allowed to spend it on? Although there are many clubs who would spend any possible handout like this on infrastructure improvements and essential costs, there would be quite a few who would also spend the money on player costs and have it chewed up almost as quickly as it came in, as some of the reported wage bills in Non League football these days are also out of control . I use this as only one example but the harsh reality is that as much as there are many well intentioned and principled people out there who would do things with an amount like this that would be viewed by many as being worthy and for the good of the game, there are also many who would choose less agreeable options like the decision to use this money to award a bonus in the first place.

Football as a whole in the UK is increasingly unbalanced, and not just at the Premier League level. A change is needed at all levels for the good of the game as a whole. The question is, who is going to start and set the example for the others to follow?

For those who really have a problem with this latest example of wealth being kept in the Premier League, there is a really simple solution. Stop watching it and paying for the merchandise etc. If you don't, you are part of the people who have created the bonus so shouldn't really complain now should you?