Shaun Harvey leaves the EFL which seeks “new direction”

18 February 2019

Shaun Harvey leaving EFL
Photo: Getty Images Shaun Harvey is leaving EFL after five years

The time was right according to Shaun Harvey who has left the English Football League.

He recently did a television deal with Sky broadly criticized by clubs in the Championship.

Shaun Harvey leaves the spot in the driver’s seat for the EFL to move in a new direction.

Peter Høyer ph@offthepitch.com

EFL today announced that CEO Shaun Harvey will leave the organisation.

As his last contribution to the work as CEO in the English Football League, the association overseeing the Championship, League One and Two, and the Carabao Cup, Shaun Harvey and the EFL board made a domestic broadcast rights deal with pay-TV giant Sky Sports worth £595 million over five seasons until May 2024.

The news is out in the light of the deal being heavily criticized by as many as up to 15 Championship clubs, despite a year-on-year increase at 35 per cent on the current deal.

Clubs demanded more money

The clubs wanted a more lucrative agreement an also criticized the EFL for blindsiding the clubs on all terms of the deal afterwards threatening to legally challenge the agreement. 

Shaun Harvey himself says that the move gives the organisation a chance to move in a different direction. 

“After discussions with the Board, we decided that the time is right for the EFL to now move in a different direction having concluded a number of commercial contracts that leave the League in a stable position,” said Shaun Harvey in a statement after his resignation. 

CEO for five years

Shaun Harvey is not the only CEO to recently leave his post. Also, former Premier League CEO, Richard Scudamore, left in December and chief executive in the Football Association Martin Glenn have said he will quit his post in May. 

In 2013 Shaun Harvey started as CEO in the EFL. In his time at the top he has overseen changing the association name in the summer of 2016 from The Football League to the English Football League as part of a re-branding to give the League’s competition a new identity.

Digital streaming launched

In the EFL, Harvey oversaw a commercial programme that generated more than £100 million of revenue every season from broadcasting and sponsorship.

This included the iFollow service – a digital streaming service launched ahead of the 2017/18 season to provide international fans the ability to watch live coverage of every single one of their team’s matches in League One and Two and the Championship. The platform has since been made available in the UK and Ireland for £10 per match.

“Consistently during my time, I have always looked to push boundaries to make the maximum positive impact for Clubs, whether this be from a financial perspective or by generating value in another way. I have always held the view that the strength of the EFL is its Clubs and no Club, or indeed individual, is bigger or more important than the collective or the EFL itself,” said Shaun Harvey, who will remain as CEO until the end of the season. 

New direction needed

The EFL board confirms that the association will be moving in a different direction but have not made any substantial details clear.

“The EFL is in a strong position with a growing fan base throughout the world and Shaun deserves a lot of credit for this. Shaun and the Board have agreed that the time is now right for a change of leadership and a new direction,” said Debbie Jevans, Interim Chair of the EFL.