Liverpool seeking TV breakaway

LIVERPOOL are ready to explore the possibility of breaking away from the rest of the Premier League and negotiating their own lucrative overseas TV rights deal.

By going it alone the Merseysiders believe they could net a far larger windfall than the current structure, which divides the £1.4bn three-year contract equally between the 20 Premier League clubs, affords them.

The system in place was recently described as “fair” by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, but should Liverpool be successful in arguing their right to strike a deal over individual rights packages, it could lead the way for other top-flight heavyweights to follow suit.

For Liverpool to force a new commercial arrangement it would require 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs to vote in favour, and while that might seem an unlikely turn of events, their managing director Ian Ayre believes the big-hitters deserve a far greater slice of the global TV pie.

“Personally I think the game-changer is going out and recognising our brand globally,” he said. “Maybe the path will be individual TV rights like they do in Spain.

“If you’re in Kuala Lumpur there isn’t anyone subscribing to Astro, or ESPN to watch Bolton, or if they are it’s a very small number. Whereas the large majority are subscribing because they want to watch Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal.

“So is it right that the international rights are shared equally between all the clubs? At some point we definitely feel there has to be some rebalance on that.

“If Real Madrid or Barcelona or other big European clubs have the opportunity to truly realise their international media value potential, where does that leave Liverpool and Manchester United?”