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Murdoch’s man behind Premier League overseas plans

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and Supporters Direct merged to become the FSA in 2019 – so this page may contain hyperlinks that do not work and/or have missing files. Our archived pages are not maintained and will not be updated.

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One of Rupert Murdoch’s right hand men, Sir Rod
Eddington, has been revealed as a major player in the Premier League’s
proposals to stage competitive fixtures abroad.

And the plan which Premier League chief Richard Scudamore pitched to
twenty top flight chairmen last week was in fact hatched by an
Australian firm – the Victorian Major Events Company, of which
Eddington is Chairman.

Former British Airways Chief executive, and current director of
Murdoch’s News Corporation Sir Rod Eddington encouraged an initially
reluctant Scudamore to consider the idea last year, pointing out the
huge potential for TV rights and brand development.

Apparently Eddington stressed to Scudamore playing meaningless
exhibition games wouldn’t yield the sort of financial return top tier
clubs would demand, and was persuasive enough to prompt the Premier
League’s chief executive to dream up the extra Premier League fixture.

And Sir Rod Eddington’s long-standing association with Rupert Murdoch
and News Corp – which owns 39 per cent of Sky – could mean the
Australian media mogul, who provided the initial impetus for the
Premiership’s foundation in 1992, has his eye on a slice of the new
abroad proposal pie.

After all, Murdoch, a known and close associate of Scudamore’s, owns
Fox TV in America, Foxtel in his native Australia, and Star TV in Asia,
which broadcasts to the world’s most populous nations, China and India.

But any notion Aussies Murdoch and Eddington entertained that Premier
League matches might be played “Down Under” appear doomed after the
Football Federation of Australia’s rejection of the proposal. And
comments from the Asian Football Confederation’s, Mohamed bin Hammam
suggested they are also highly sceptical.

All of which left Sir Rod Eddington conceding: “It’s unlikely to happen
if the authorities are not in favour and both the Australian federation
and the Asian Football Confederation have come out in opposition.”

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