MP warns FA Cup will be ‘forever diminished’ by rights deal with Premier League

MP warns FA Cup will be ‘forever diminished’ by rights deal with Premier League

The FA Cup will be “forever diminished” if a deal is done with the Premier League over the sale of the competition’s overseas rights, according to a member of the Culture, Media and Sport parliamentary committee.

The PA news agency understands the Football Association is considering a long-term arrangement where the Premier League sells the international rights to the FA Cup bundled alongside its own rights, with a view to a collective deal netting more money for both parties.

Labour MP Clive Efford, who sits on the CMS committee which took evidence from the FA and the Premier League on football regulation in March, believes such a deal would place undue control over the FA Cup in the Premier League’s hands.

Clive Efford says the FA is in thrall to the Premier League
Clive Efford says the FA is in thrall to the Premier League (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

“The Premier League has shown its contempt for the FA Cup in the past,” Efford told the PA news agency.

“Why would anyone who has any concern about the future of the FA Cup put the Premier League in charge of it?

“(The FA Cup) is not a competition that (Premier League clubs) value. They prefer the Premier League, the Champions League, that’s what it boils down to. The FA Cup will be forever diminished.

“We (the CMS committee) can ask football to come in and talk to us about it, if we choose to do it.

“I think this is a big issue – it’s the death knell of the FA Cup and the status of the FA Cup.”

The Premier League, FA and EFL have been in separate dialogue over a ‘New Deal For Football’ over the last 18 months which has included talks on the football calendar.

Within that, the possibility of scrapping FA Cup replays amid the expansion of UEFA’s club competitions from the 2024-25 season is understood to be under discussion.

The Premier League and the FA have not commented on the tender process.

PA understands the process will run until July 17.

The Infront Sports and Media agency said in a statement issued earlier this week it had been selected as the preferred bidder for a portion of the overseas FA Cup rights in early May following the original tender process, but was told by the FA negotiations were being paused because of a third-party offer it had to assess.

Infront said it was considering its legal options and that the FA’s actions “set a dangerous precedent for future tender processes in the industry”.

Efford added: “The FA has to act in the interests of the wider football pyramid and whatever it thinks it might get in the short term in terms of a contract for the coverage of the FA Cup, we’re putting the future status of the competition in the hands of people who’ve shown in the past that they find it a burden on their time.

“(The FA) are just completely in the thrall of the Premier League and I don’t think that’s good for the long-term future the game.”