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Premier League and Sky ‘agree deferral of £170m rights rebate’

The English Premier League is said to have secured an agreement with its domestic rights-holder, pay-television broadcaster Sky, meaning clubs will be able to defer the payment of a collective rebate worth more than £170m (€190m/$212.8m) until the 2021-22 season.

The top tier of English club football last week announced that it was targeting June 17 as the resumption date for a 2019-20 season that has been suspended since March 13 due to Covid-19.

Clubs are said to have been recently informed that they would lose a minimum of £330m to domestic and international broadcasters, even if the season is completed.

These figures are said to be based on the Premier League season resuming on June 12 and concluding by July 26. The Athletic reports that, on this basis, some £223m would be repaid to domestic broadcasters and a further £107m to international broadcast partners.

A failure to conclude the season would see these figures rise to £442.5m and £319.7m, respectively. However, the Premier League has now brokered a settlement with Sky that will see it pay its entire scheduled fees on time for the remainder of 2019-20 and the 2020-21 season, according to The Athletic.

It is reported that Sky will then claim its rebate during the 2021-22 season, at which point the League hopes that it and the clubs will be in a better financial position to make the payments, post-pandemic. It is thought that the deal still needs final sign off from the clubs, with a similar agreement expected to be struck with fellow live rights-holder BT Sport, the pay-television broadcaster, taking the settlement to £223m.

However, it is thought that a payment of £107m will still need to be paid in full to international broadcaster by the end of July 2020.

Sky this week reached a compensation settlement with the Scottish Professional Football League after the Scottish top flight was curtailed early. That settlement is widely reported to entail £1.5m being paid back to the broadcaster over five years.

Sky and BT Sport last week said they will resume charging subscribers this month, as live sport begins to return to their schedules.

Sky, which holds the bulk of the Premier League’s live rights in the 2019-22 cycle, will broadcast 64 of the remaining 92 matches. It will make 25 matches in its quota available to free-to-air digital terrestrial viewers through its PickTV channel. These matches are those that Sky had previously not been scheduled to broadcast.

BT will show 20 matches, up from the eight it had originally been due to broadcast. The matches will only be available to BT Sport customers.