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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Premier League chief: Not up to clubs to pay staff living wage

Richard Scudamore says it is not Premier League clubs' responsibility to pay stadium staff the living wage following a 70 percent increase in the value of the top flight's British television rights for the 2016-19 seasons.

Sky and BT are paying a combined 5.136 billion pounds ($7.8 billion) to show games, with the broadcasters paying more than 10 million pounds ($15.2 million) to screen each game.

Deloitte Money League -- 10 Richest Teams (2013-14)

1. Real Madrid, £459.5 million
2. Manchester United, £433.2 million
3. Bayern Munich, £407.7 million
4. Barcelona, £405.2 million
5. Paris Saint-Germain, £396.5 million
6. Manchester City, £346.5 million
7. Chelsea, £324.4 million
8. Arsenal, £300.5 million
9. Liverpool, £255.8 million
10. Juventus, £233.6 million

When asked by BBC Radio 4's Today programme whether the new deal would see a rise in wages for the lowest-paid club employees, Premier League chief executive Scudamore replied: "At the end of the day there's a thing called the living wage but there's also a minimum wage, and politicians do have the power to up that minimum wage. That's entirely for the politicians to do, that's not for us to do."

Chelsea are currently the only top-flight club currently paying the living wage, though Scudamore "doesn't feel uncomfortable" about the difference in wages for players and the rest of the club's employees, saying: "The reality is, just like in the film industry, in the pop industry, the talent, the absolute talent, gets paid a disproportionately high amount.

"That is the reality in any talent industry -- the stars that grace the field in the Premier League are world stars, it's a world market. I don't set the market rate, it's set by the world market."

Scudamore refused to make any guarantees that the 70 percent increase in income would mean a similar redistribution of wealth between the clubs, saying: "I'm not guaranteeing anything. I'm not in a position to guarantee -- I work for 20 employers.

"We will sit down and look at what is the proportionate thing we should be doing, and I'm absolutely confident that the clubs will do the right and proportionate thing. But I'm not able to guarantee anything."

Richard Scudamore's
Scudamore insists the living/minumum wage are issues for government rather than clubs.

When questioned on whether clubs could pass on the benefits of the added income to fans in the form of reduced tickets prices due to their status as "staggeringly wealthy" organisations, Scudamore replied: "Staggeringly wealthy in what sense? Not all of them make profits.

"Clearly, there are revenues but the clubs will have choices as to what they do with those revenues. Will they be investing in making sure grounds stay full? Yes they will. But I can't guarantee what each individual club will be doing."

Meanwhile, the 20 Premier League club owners have been challenged to commit five percent of their new windfall to grass-roots football.

Richard Caborn, a board member of the Football Foundation and a former sports minister, said the top-flight clubs have a responsibility to put a chunk of the record television deal back into the game at community level by funding facilities and coaches.

The Premier League is one of the joint funders of the Football Foundation, providing 12 million pounds annually, along with the FA and the Government who each provide 10 million pounds, which is used for community facilities.

Caborn told Press Association Sport: "This is a challenge to the 20 club owners and chairmen. Some of them have been alleged to have little interest in the England team and English football more broadly.

"They have the privilege of coming and being an owner of an English club and each should have to put back five per cent into the game. That level would keep it simple, and allow community funding to keep pace with increases in income."

The new TV deal will likely see Premier League clubs drawing more star players in from overseas.

The Football Supporters' Federation, meanwhile, believe "a three-pronged attack" is now required, insisting the level of funding to grass-roots football should not only be further addressed, but also there should be cuts to ticket prices and money should filter down the pyramid to the Football League clubs.

FSF chairman Malcolm Clarke, speaking to Press Association Sport, said: "The real challenge now for the Premier League owners -- and I'm not particularly optimistic they are going to rise to it -- is how they use this money.

"People keep using the word 'obscene,' but it's not obscene we're getting this amount of money into English football. What might be obscene is how it's used.

"I joke now, but in the film industry they pay the extras to attend, and maybe we should now be regarded as the extras for this television product and they pay us to go in rather than we pay them.

"I know it's a joke, but behind it there is truth because without the match-going fan inside the ground they wouldn't have a product to sell."

The soaring cost of the TV rights, though, has had an adverse effect on the price of Sky's shares, showing a drop of 4.19 percent. In contrast to Sky, BT's share price had risen by 2.86 percent.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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