Premier League chief proves popular

PREMIER League chief executive Richard Scudamore proved a popular speaker at a business breakfast run in conjunction with Q/Dos at Portman Road.Scudamore told the gathering of around 80 local business people how the Premier League had grown from a turnover of £40m in the first year to an expected figure of £946m and operated with a staff of 44.

By Derek Davis

PREMIER League chief executive Richard Scudamore proved a popular speaker at a business breakfast run in conjunction with Q/Dos at Portman Road.

Scudamore told the gathering of around 80 local business people how the Premier League had grown from a turnover of £40m in the first year to an expected figure of £946m and operated with a staff of 44.

Scudamore took questions from the floor and answered them candidly.

First up was the concern that the influx of foreign owners could mean a sealing off of the Premiership and an end to promotion and relegation.

Scudamore said: “It certainly won't happen while I'm at the Premier League.

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“The interest in promotion and relegation cannot be measured.

“The American model is phenomenal but then there is about 250 miles between franchises so there is nothing else for them to do. But promotion and relegation is the key to our football and is here to stay.

“In 15 years since the Premiership started the rules have not changed and there is no need. It would be over my dead body if that were to happen.”

Another query concerned a 'Super League' of the top European clubs.

Scudamore said: “We already have one and it's called the Champions League.

“English clubs don't need to break away. There is far more intensity in Premiership match-ups between Liverpool and Manchester United or Everton for example than playing a Werder Bremen every other week.

“UEFA should concentrate on what they do well and focus on the Champions League, the UEFA Cup and the European Championships every four years, instead of trying to be FIFA, the FA and everything else.”

The 'obscene' wages paid to Premiership stars was also brought up.

Scudamore said: “I can't justify players' wages but I can explain it.

“What I can't explain is how Jonathan Ross can be paid £4m by the BBC when we don't have a choice. That is licence payers' money, our money, that is paying his wages.

“At least with footballers consumers have choice whether to buy Sky packages or not and ultimately that is what pays the wages.”

Scudamore also made mention of John Arne Riise's wage slip that appeared on the internet.

He said: “The most interesting thing about Riise's wage slip was that it showed he had paid £55,000 in tax for the month. People say footballers should give up a day's pay for nurses but how many nurses does that one-month's tax pay for? Then multiply that across the Premier League and it is about £620m so work out how nurses the league pays for.”

Scudamore also revealed that Town's prospective new owner Marcus Evans was well known to the Premier League.

The multi-millionaire businessman had been subjected to due diligence by the league when his company Marcus Evans Group bought their old headquarters at Connaught Place, in London.

The next Ipswich Town 'Networking Event' is planned for February 19 when William Gittus, Chief Executive of the Jockey Club at Newmarket, will be the guest speaker.

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