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12 Oct 2011

Leading Premier League clubs should be able to negotiate their own overseas TV rights, Liverpool's managing director has been quoted as saying.

Ian Ayre thinks English sides will be left behind by European rivals if they continue to be tied to a collective agreement, which expires in 2013.

He told the Guardian: "Is it right that the international rights are shared equally between all the clubs?

"What we are doing is disadvantaging ourselves against top European clubs."

The current broadcasting deal for overseas rights is worth £1.4bn to the 20 Premier League clubs, with matches shown in 212 countries.

Under current Premier League rules, 14 teams would need to vote in favour of any new arrangements.

Ayre reportedly believes that Liverpool - along with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal - deserve to receive an increased share. In Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid are able to negotiate individual contracts.

Ayre said: "What is absolutely certain is that, with the greatest of respect to our colleagues in the Premier League, if you're a Bolton fan in Bolton, then you subscribe to Sky because you want to watch Bolton. Everyone gets that.

"Likewise, if you're a Liverpool fan from Liverpool, you subscribe.

"But if you're in Kuala Lumpur there isn't anyone subscribing to Astro, or ESPN, to watch Bolton, or if they are it's a very small number. Whereas the large majority are subscribing because they want to watch Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal.

So is it right that the international rights are shared equally between all the clubs? Some people will say: 'Well you've got to all be in it to make it happen.'

"But isn't it really about where the revenue is coming from, which is the broadcaster, and isn't it really about who people want to watch on that channel? We know it is us. And others.

"At some point we definitely feel there has to be some rebalance on that, because what we are actually doing is disadvantaging ourselves against other big European clubs."

Last month Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson called for more revenue from the overseas broadcasting deal, but he was in favour of sharing the money equally.

Ferguson told BBC Sport: "We are being shown in 212 countries at the moment so whatever we are being paid, it is not enough.

"There is a negotiation to be had there next time around. [Individual rights] is the big issue in Spain at the moment but I've no great feelings about that.

"We'd love to have our own but I don't think it should happen that way. It's quite fair to have all equal shares."

source: bbc.co.uk

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