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Why The 39th Game Is Still On

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Premiership chief executive Richard Scudamore still thinks that a 39th game played abroad is essential to secure the future of the competition. He argues that the only reason that the model of distribution of half the domestic rights income and all the foreign rights income equally is that 'the revenues are so large, enabling us to divide the income without the top clubs crying foul. If the centrally generated revenues were to plummet, the big clubs would start looking across at what is happening with their competitors in Italy and Spain who get far more in relative terms through individual selling.' Last season, Manchester United earned £49.3m from Premiership broadcast income while bottom club Derby County earned £29.1m. In Spain, where television rights are sold individually by the clubs, Real Madrid earned €110 million and Levante only €8m. If United had to give up any more income to lower-ranked clubs, the imperative for a renegotiation of the formula - or for a breakway league - could becme too strong. Scudamore insists, 'I know the only way to preserve the central model is if we are allowed to grow commercially, enabling the top English clubs to continue to compete with international rivals who don't have the same obligations to share the wealth.'