The English Football League said on Monday that it has agreed a five-year domestic broadcasting deal with Sky Sports worth 595 million pounds (668 million euros), starting next season. The EFL, which runs the second, third and fourth tiers of English football, said the deal was unanimously approved by its board, and that it is different to the provisional agreement made with the broadcaster last September. Several Championship clubs, including Aston Villa, Derby and Leeds, strongly criticised the original proposal and they are unlikely to be happy with the final agreement.
But the EFL board has decided this is the best option on the table for the 72 clubs and it will give every club the chance to build their own 'direct to consumer' streaming service.
"Having fully considered the matter, its implications and any associated risks, the EFL board is satisfied that the right deal for the EFL and its clubs has been reached," said the EFL's interim chair Debbie Jevans in a statement.
"Concluding these negotiations has indeed been challenging, as is the case when managing a diverse group of stakeholders, and the board took on board the comments and frustrations voiced by a number of clubs and has committed to reviewing the way the league engages with its clubs to ensure that we move forward in a collaborative way in the future."
That is reference to recent suggestions that up to 15 Championship clubs wanted to reject the Sky offer, believing it tied the league in too long and was not worth enough money.
Under the deal, Sky will be able to broadcast 138 EFL games a season, with a minimum of 20 of those being third-tier League One and fourth-division League Two matches.
Sixteen of those games will be Championship matches on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and Sky will also get eight additional midweek games as co-exclusives with the clubs' streaming services.
The overall package includes all 15 EFL play-off matches, 15 Carabao Cup games and the Checkatrade Trophy's semi-finals and final.