Richard Scudamore: Premier League chief plays down prospect of European super league

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Richard Scudamore: Clubs won't exploit winter break

Premier League chief Richard Scudamore has played down the prospect of a breakaway European league.

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Sport after announcing he is stepping down this year, he said the Champions League works in its current format and there is no need to expand it.

Scudamore also said clubs would not be allowed to exploit the new February break, which starts in 2020.

"There will be conditions around what they can do," he added.

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said last month that the introduction of a European super league was "inevitable", and that Premier League matches would be moved to midweek.

But the league's executive chairman Scudamore disagrees, saying: "We are not going to give up weekends.

"There's no way we're going to give that up. We're the most successful league in the world and nobody can come along and tell us to do that.

"Also, the Champions League works right now. It's a huge success.

"Look at this season. The games were fantastic, Liverpool's run, the excitement, the goals. There's nothing that needs changing and therefore we will be making sure that doesn't happen."

The rise of Premier League TV income
Income generated from Premier League UK TV rights has grown significantly under Scudamore's leadership. The precise figure for the next deal, covering the period 2019-2022, has not yet been announced

Scudamore on the February break

It was announced on Friday that Premier League clubs will have one weekend off in February from the 2019-20 season.

The break will be split over two weeks, with 10 teams sitting out the first weekend and 10 the following weekend.

"We're trying to call it a mid-season player break as the Premier League itself won't be breaking," said Scudamore.

"Relations have been good between the Football Association and ourselves - it was something they wanted to do and something we weren't averse to.

"We didn't really want to stop our season, so the idea of splitting a round - five games one week and five the next - we thought was quite creative and it worked for the FA."

On the significance of Amazon buying broadcast rights

The announcement of the February break came 24 hours after it was revealed Amazon would broadcast 20 Premier League matches a season for three years from 2019.

"I'm not going to overplay its significance - it's one of our smaller packages," said Scudamore. "But it is interesting that an online retailer wants to come in and use rights a different way than they have been traditionally used.

"Sky have been there from the beginning, the BBC have been from the beginning - albeit for a small period when they weren't.

"These people who have promoted and broadcast our league to get us where we are remain a bedrock of our foundation and our success.

"But the world moves on and some of these new people come along. It's interesting. I don't think it's necessarily as seismic as some people have reported it."

On stepping down after 20 years

Scudamore, 58, announced on Thursday that he would leave his post by the end of the year.

"I got this job 20 years ago and I thought if I could get three years riding this rodeo horse before they threw me off that would be good," he said.

"You don't want to leave when things are slightly at a dip - not that there has been much of a dip.

"You just get to a point when you say: 'Actually, this has been a great run, I couldn't put any more energy into it more than I do, therefore why not just wake up and go that's it, I'm done.'"

On the challenges facing his successor

Bruce Buck, the Chelsea chairman and head of the Premier League audit and remuneration committee, said on Thursday he expected a "seamless transition".

Scudamore said: "I've said rather flippantly - and it's true - that it's a job where you have to try and keep everybody marginally dissatisfied all the time.

"You can't keep them all happy. That's just impossible because everybody has got different challenges. It's such an interesting and exhilarating job - there won't be a shortage of candidates.

"It's one of the best jobs to have but it can be done different ways and the last thing the league needs is someone to come in and do it like I've done it.

"It needs someone to come in and reinvigorate and do things differently. It's not an impossible job."

On his plans for the future

Scudamore was a senior executive at the Thomson newspaper group before moving into football in 1997, when he became chief executive of the Football League.

Two years later he joined the Premier League.

Asked what would come next, he said: "I have no clue - I'm open to offers.

"I've got to concentrate on getting this done, spend some time with the family.

"I'm very excited. I've got opportunities - I don't know what they are yet but I've got time and time is a precious commodity."

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