The Premier League’s 5.136 billion pounds ($7.90 billion)television deal will enable English clubs to dominate European football once again, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday.
Sky Sports, the pay-TV channel, has agreed to spend 4.2 billion pounds to show 126 live Premier League matches a season from 2016 to 2019, while rival BT will pay 960 million pounds to show 42 games a season.
Only Chelsea and Manchester United have won the Champions League in the last 10 years, but Wenger expects Premier League clubs to splash the extra cash far and wide as they have the power to “attract who they want”.
“It makes the clubs in a bigger, stronger financial position all over Europe,” the Frenchman, who became the first Premier League manager to select a team without a single English player in 2005, told reporters.
“It will contribute to get the best players all over the world to come to England. The movement of the players is always linked with the economical and financial power in the countries.
“When I was a coach in Monaco we bought the English players because we were the first to have the television money. Today the biggest financial power is in England and the best players come to England.”
Spanish clubs might question that, with La Liga welcoming Gareth Bale in 2013 as the world’s most expensive player after his 100 million euro transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid.
FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo is also at Real after an 80 million pound move from Manchester United in 2009, while Luis Suarez — who Wenger tried to sign for 40 million last season — joined Barcelona from Liverpool for around 75 million pounds in July.
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce meanwhile defended the Premier League from criticism that not enough of the cash was being passed on to grassroots football.
“Fingers have been pointed at the Premier League and their commitment to grassroots football but, over the present deal, they are donating 56 million pounds a year to exactly that cause,” Allardyce told the London Evening Standard.
“Let’s not forget that provision for grassroots sport is principally a government responsibility — rather than an obligation for the Premier League,” he added.
“It’s a disgrace that there is a reliance instead on the Premier League and charities to provide the funding. Some blame-shifting has gone on here.” ($1 = 0.6500 British Pounds)