Premier League chief Richard Scudamore rules out live TV broadcast of Saturday, 3pm fixtures

Ross McLean
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Scudamore believes the level of Premier League spending witnessed this summer is sustainable (Source: Getty)

Premier League boss Richard Scudamore has ruled out the prospect of televising top-flight matches which kick-off at the traditional Saturday 3pm slot for the foreseeable future.

Talks are ongoing over the next TV rights deal, which will come into effect at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, with an increasing number of fixtures set to be added to the broadcast roster.

But Scudamore, who confirmed the Premier League would have a season-long “superblock” on illegal streams, insists Saturday 3pm will remain sacrosanct by a continued refusal to air live games at that time.

“The game is best served by not broadcasting on Saturday at 3pm for grassroots reasons,” said Scudamore.

“The amount of football that’s played on Saturday afternoon is still a huge percentage – by far the vast majority of adult 11-a-side football is played on a Saturday afternoon.

“You have all the Football League games. They can’t all be displaced, and we think that if we were broadcasting all of ours we would be impacting upon that.

“So really it is a sort of solidarity issue for us in terms of the rest of football, and I think that the Saturday 3pm window will remain protected.”

Fuelled by the existing £8.3bn TV deal, Premier League clubs are set for a record-breaking transfer window having already surpassed the £1bn-mark for their collective summer spending.

The previous record of £1.18bn was set last summer but with three weeks remaining until the window closes on 31 August, the expectation is for a substantial upgrade on the figure achieved 12 months ago.

Manchester City alone have forked out £218m on the likes of Kyle Walker from rivals Tottenham and Monaco duo Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva ahead of the new Premier League season, which begin on Friday.

Such lavish outlays prompted Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to label the volume of spending as unsustainable, although Scudamore disagrees.

“The reality is there are pressures everywhere, fans want their clubs to go and sign players, always have done,” added the 57-year-old.

“The economics of the game are straightforward. Clubs have assets, particularly broadcast rights, we have global interest in that.

“That generates income, that income is then invested and clubs have always pretty much spent what they can on acquiring talent and then other infrastructure, like stadia and community schemes.

“We have rules in place that ensure the clubs are sustainable, clearly you cannot pay the absolute top dollar for every player.”

Scudamore, however, admits he was pleased that a Premier League club was not involved in the transfer deal which saw Paris Saint-Germain pay Barcelona a world-record £200m for Neymar.

He said: “There is a point where you say actually ‘no’. I am glad that is not us who has got that particular record.”

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