Sky Sports Football - Football History - 1990's

Football Violence

Once again, England fans were in trouble at the 1992 European Championships.  In Sweden, 250 fans were arrested for violence and disorder, shaming their mother country.  Denmark won the Championships, one of their few Football conquests.

In 1994, England failed to qualify for the World Cup and US Chairman of the World Cup committee stated "There were three countries in the world whose presence would have created logistical problems.  so we are pleased they won't be coming - Iraq, Iran and England".

In 1996, The European Championships (Euro '96), held in England, resulted in 942 arrests between 8th and 30th June.  Germany won, beating Czech Republic 2-1 in the final.  It is Germany's first and only win as a unified nation, to date.  England played a blistering First Round, only to lose the Second Round on penalties to Germany.

The World Cup in 1998, held in France resulted in 278 England fans arrested for violence and disorder when they rioted in Marseilles.  Again, the World Cup was won by the host nation, 3-0 against Brazil.  England were eliminated by Argentina in the Knockout.

  /affiliate_paperclip_assets/original/724.jpg?1347315646

Money and Football

Back to 1992 and there was a change in English Football and the FA in particular.  'First Division' became 'The Premier League', the FA's new concept, resulting in demand by ten of the top teams revolting against the FA, to whom they had belonged for over 100 years.  The first sponsor, Carling Lager attached their name and it became 'The FA Carling Premiership'.

The fears that prompted the teams to challenge the FA was that they were less affluent than their European neighbours and therefore less able to attract the world's top players.  Revolving around money, as football does, the Premiership incentivised a very lucrative deal with Sky TV.  It was this deal which brought English Football and the newly named league to the forefront, sharing around £250 million between just 22 Premier League sides.  Previously, any money from TV rights had been split between all 92 Football League teams.

  /affiliate_paperclip_assets/original/725.jpg?1347315667

Rupert Murdoch, head of Sky, had taken a huge gamble in launching the new TV channel and enlisting subscriptions from viewers, but he had gained exclusive rights.  Rights which still exist today.  Sebastian Coe commented "I think it is wrong that only two million dish owners get access to such events".  But the business logic was good and the deal goes on; either you pay for Sky, or you don't watch Premier Football.

The new Premier League Clubs started spending their new-found wealth and transfers costing over £2 million became commonplace.  For example, Manchester United FC gained their first Championship for 26 years.

In 1995, FIFA ruled that there had to be a reduction in games in The European Leagues and the Premier League obliged by reducing the amount of teams from 22 to 20.

  /affiliate_paperclip_assets/original/726.jpg?1347315703

Pride took a fall and money driven teams strove only for the huge cash prizes on offer.  Being in the Premier League gained instant exposure and players realised that exposure meant possible transfer for high fees, both nationally and internationally.  Viewers of Sky realised that they could now watch top players and each match became like a Final in its professionalism.

Soon, the Premier League and the Football League became two completely different platforms.  Simply due to finance.  All money was now being aimed at the top end - and the bottom end were getting very poor.  The Football League clubs started trying to buy top players, in an attempt to get into the Premier League.  Success came for some, but others found themselves with players outstripping the bank balance.  They were spending money they did not have and there is only one result when that happens.

From a start of £250 million in 1992, due to deals in various countries and China in particular, the income has rocketed to nearly £2 billion (2012).  On the plus side, English football is now watched and supported by people from all over the world.  Murdoch deserves a trophy!

Previous Index Next