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Clubs rush to criticise Liverpool's Ian Ayre

Yesterday the MD of Liverpool, Ian Ayre, said that he wanted the Premier League's big hitters to be able to negotiate individual TV deals abroad, instead of continuing the collective bargaining agreement that has kept the league from sliding in a Spanish style lop-side nightmare. He was obviously hoping that the other big clubs would agree; however that's not happened, with Chelsea and Manchester United coming out to criticise the idea.

This will no doubt come as a relief to clubs lower down the pecking order, who would have been fearing the big clubs flex their muscles to break away from the current deal.

'We are supportive of the Premier League on this and want to continue with the way they sell (TV rights) collectively,' said Chelsea, while Manchester United also leapt to criticise Ayre's opinion. 'The collective selling of the television rights has clearly been a success and it has made things more competitive.'

'I think what we've got is a pretty good system that works well and is probably a model for European countries to follow,' said Stoke City chairman Peter Coates. 'I don't think what Spain has done has done anything for Spanish football. As I understand it, their own clubs and supporters and everyone connected with the game in Spain is pretty depressed with what has happened there.

'Furthermore, both those clubs (Barcelona and Real Madrid) have got huge debts and that's with all the money they get. I think things are structured very well here and to change that would be very much a step in the wrong direction. I think we've got it about right and I'm disappointed that Liverpool think differently. But hopefully the majority of clubs will recognise we've got a system that works well.'

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