Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore has announced his intention to stand down by the end of the year.
Since his appointment to replace the axed Peter Leaver in November 1999, Scudamore has been an influential figure in overseeing the English top-flight’s expansion.
Previously the 58-year-old had been a senior executive at the Thompson newspaper group before moving into football in 1997 and taking up his chief executive position.
When he first joined, the league’s UK television rights were valued at about £670m and are now worth a staggering £5.14bn. Today’s announcement comes on the day he agreed to sell Premier League matches to a streaming service and tech giant Amazon Prime, who have purchased one of the remaining TV packages for 2019-2022.
The surprise announcement was made at the end of the League’s AGM in Harrogate. Commenting on his decision, Scudamore said: ‘It’s an absolute privilege to have been allowed to enjoy this role for so long, it is too much fun to be called a job.
‘Football is an intoxicating environment and therefore difficult to give up being so involved, but my passion for what football means to so many and the positive impact it can make will never diminish.
‘This past 20 years would not have been possible without the continuing support and encouragement of the clubs and the unstinting efforts of my colleagues at the Premier League, whose professionalism and dedication are only surpassed by their decency and sense of fun.
‘The Premier League is in great shape and the future is bright, of course there are still many things to improve and constant challenges, but that is what makes it so exhilarating. The Clubs put on the greatest show; fans, such an essential part of that show, love it both here and around the world. Because it so compelling, the League’s success will continue under new and re-invigorated leadership.’