(WFI) English Premier League clubs will share more than £1bn ($1.5bn) of their record UK TV rights deal with the lower leagues and grassroots football.

The decision came at a meeting of the Premier League clubs on Thursday. It follows the EPL’s record £5.136bn ($7.6bn) sale of live TV rights to Sky and BT from 2016/17 to 2018/19 last month.

The league said the £1billion cash windfall for clubs outside the top-flight and investment into grassroots football depends on a regulatory challenge from Ofcom about how domestic TV rights are distributed and revenue from international sales. Further details won’t be known until later this year or in early 2016.

The handout includes the 20 Premier League club’s commitment to provide parachute payments to relegated clubs and agreement to pay a ‘living wage’ – a minimum of £9.15 an hour in London – to all full-time staff.

“Subject to a satisfactory outcome from the regulatory process and international sales, clubs have agreed that a total of at least £1bn from the sale of UK live rights will be shared beyond the Premier League in the 2016/17-2018/19 period,” the Premier league said.

“This sum is unprecedented in world sport and will include a wide range of beneficiaries. This means record levels of funding will flow from the very top of the English football pyramid through every level right down to the grassroots.”

Five priority areas for investment are:
*Grassroots facilities
* Participation – sporting and educational development of young people
* Fan engagement and matchday experience
* Solidarity with lower leagues
* Supporting disadvantaged groups

Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said: “The clubs have always stepped up to the plate when it comes to sharing their success. They appreciate that the development of the Premier League is contingent to a high degree on continued high levels of passionate support and a vibrant football pyramid.

“These are unprecedented levels of redistribution in world sport, let alone football, which will deliver long-term progress for English football whether you are a fan, lower league club or involved in the grassroots.”

In a shakeup of the Premier League’s governance, it was confirmed that Scudamore has been promoted from chief executive to executive chairman.

Two independent non-executive directors, Claudia Arney and Kevin Beeston, will join the Premier League board in June.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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