Foundation of the Premier League

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The foundation of the Premier League in English football occurred when the managing director of London Weekend Television (LWT) Greg Dyke met with the representatives of the "big five"[1][2] football clubs in England in 1990. The meeting was to pave the way for a break away from the Football League. Dyke believed that it would be more lucrative for LWT if only the larger clubs in the country were featured on national television and wanted to establish whether the clubs would be interested in a larger share of television rights money.

The fundamental difference between the old Football League and the breakaway league (what became the Premier League) is that the money in the breakaway league would only be divided between the clubs active in that division whilst it was shared between all Football League clubs in the old First Division.

The five clubs decided it was a good idea and decided to press ahead with it, however the league would have no credibility without the backing of The Football Association and so David Dein of Arsenal F.C. held talks to see whether the FA were receptive to the idea. The FA did not enjoy an amicable relationship with the Football League at the time and considered it as a way to weaken the Football League's position.

ITV offered £205 million for the television rights and later increased their offer to £262 million but were outbid by Rupert Murdoch who saw it as the make or break opportunity to lure new customers to their loss-making satellite service Sky Television plc who had been advised by Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Alan Sugar. Trevor East of ITV heard Sugar on the telephone speaking to Murdoch at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London in May 1992 advising an increased bid for the television rights. Sugar is alleged to have told Murdoch to "Blow them out of the water".[3]

Sugar at the time was supplying Sky with Satellite Dishes and was the only Chairperson of a big five club to vote in favour of Sky's bid. He would soon take over Tottenham Hotspur.

The other large clubs were reluctant to accept Sky's bid due to it being a non-terrestrial television service and no pledge from Sky to feature their games more regularly was made.

Following a trial in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court by Justice Rose, it was held that the formation of the Premier League was not subject to judicial review, The Football Association being governed by private law.


  1. The big five were Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal
  2. Evans, Anthony; Conolly, Thomas; Lai, Stephen; Whitfield, Matthew; Bainbridge, James; Mellor, Andrew (27 December 2005). "Kerry Packer (1937-2005)". The Filter^.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Conn, David. The Football Business. Mainstream Media.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>