Premier League chief executive Richard Masters admits there has been a breakdown of trust and relations between the six clubs involved in proposed Super League and the rest of the division.
Masters believes it will take time for that trust to be restored between Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham who were involved in the attempted breakaway and the remainder of the league.
He says the Premier League will work with the Football Association to “bolster their rule book” and prevent any future threat of a breakaway, while outlining his aim to “reset” the division.
The Premier League CEO sat down with Sky Sports News’ Bryan Swanson to discuss the fallout from the failed Super League, what the proposed new TV deal could mean in the post-pandemic period and his thoughts on the ongoing fan protests at Old Trafford.
When asked if he believed trust between the clubs had been restored following recent Premier League stakeholder meetings, Masters admitted: “Relations are still strained and they will take some time for them to be restored. Hence the need for a process that concludes the matter.
“I don’t think (the threat of a breakaway) can always be there. It happened three weeks ago, the threat was laid bare and it was over within 48 hours. I think want fans and stakeholders want to know is that the regime is strong enough to withstand it.
“We are going to bolster our rule book working with the FA and potentially the Government to underpin it. We will strengthen rules to make sure breakaway concepts are a thing of the past.
“The concept was so plainly wrong and badly handled. It created division and uncertainty at the worst possible time.
“The clubs involved have acknowledged that and apologised. We are now in the process with them to find out the facts about what happened, we need to complete that process quickly, efficiently, justly and appropriately before we can move forward.
“We were in a meeting together and we can still get business done, that’s why we need to complete this process efficiently. We are going to bring in measures that realign all the clubs and owners around our core values and principles. You would have heard about the owners’ charter.
“It’s not just about finding about what happened. It’s about resetting the Premier League.”
‘New Premier League TV deal provides certainty’
The Premier League has secured approval in principle for a three-year renewal of its TV rights deal with UK broadcast partners, including Sky Sports.
Masters describes the proposed deal as “very significant” following a year of financial loss for clubs due the pandemic and continued uncertainty over the future of the game caused by the breakaway proposals.
“I think it is a very significant moment,” Masters reflected. “We have been missing three things. Hopefully fans can start returning in part from next week and then with a full return at the start of next season.
“Financial security, the Premier League has lost probably £2bn across the league’s economy during the pandemic.
“And also certainty, this is what the prospective deals can offer us. Not just the Premier League but the wider game, it is certainty.”
How £100m funding will support football pyramid post-pandemic
Premier League clubs have also agreed £100m of additional funding to support National League, women’s football, League One and League Two clubs and grassroots game as part of the new TV deal.
“We were challenged to create a formula to help the whole of the game, that is why there are new areas where we are putting funding into. Hopefully we are in the post-pandemic stage and clubs can begin their recovery.
“This is something we have been working on for a number of months and clubs were brought up to speed this week. They were happy with the proposals.
“The £100m will be broadly divided into five pots and that is how it is going to work.
‘Protests must be peaceful and lawful’
Manchester United increased security at Old Trafford on Thursday, including police from around the country, amid calls for fans to participate in another protest, after protestors broke into the ground and assembled on the pitch on May 2 in opposition to the Glazer family’s ownership.
While Masters made it clear the fans have every right to voice their opinions, he pleaded with supporters to get their views across in a peaceful and lawful manner.
He added: “The events at Old Trafford have created issues. Fans have a right to protest but they must do it peacefully and respectfully. I am empathetic with the views they are expressing but they have to do it in the right way.
“I would say you can make your voices heard but do it within the law and do it peacefully.”