Newcastle's Amanda Staveley to shape new media access – SPORTS AGENDA

Newcastle United director Amanda Staveley is on the Premier League’s new international broadcast and access working group… while Sky’s Wout Weghorst body double proves unconvincing – SPORTS AGENDA

  • Newcastle’s Amanda Stavely is among those deciding on future media access
  • Sky used a poor substitute when they couldn’t get pictures of Wout Weghorst
  • Those involved in instigating an investigation into Man City are all moving on 

Weghorst’s unconvincing body double

Sky Sports have a thing or two to learn when it comes to subterfuge. When the Manchester United starting XI for their match at Crystal Palace was displayed on screen, new signing Wout Weghorst was shown in United colours for the first time. Only, while the head was Weghorst’s, the body clearly belonged to someone else — someone far shorter than the 6ft 5in striker and who was wearing Nike boots rather than the forward’s preferred adidas.

The botch caused bemusement at United, whose officials had provided all the material Sky needed in advance. Sky responded that the imagery needs to be captured by themselves and there was not time to do so. They declined to reveal whose body they used. Some joked that, given the size difference, it could have been Juan Mata… and the mystery imposter was back before United’s defeat at Arsenal yesterday.

Sky Sports used a poor body double for Wout Weghorst when they could not get their pictures

Staveley set to call toon on media access

Newcastle United director Amanda Staveley is the big name on the Premier League’s new internal broadcast and access working group. 

The Rights, Access and Facilities Framework (RAFF) group has been assembled by the league to assess the clubs’ digital rights, Premier League’s promotional rights and what has been an eternal sticking point — broadcaster access to managers and players.

Staveley, keen to get involved, is one of six executives who will also go on to assess stadium criteria and media facilities.

Amanda Staveley is among those who will decide on future Premier League media access

The list also includes Arsenal commercial supremo Juliet Slot and new Manchester United comms chief Ellie Norman, with the remainder made up of representatives from Brighton, Leicester and Manchester City.

The RAFF will meet for the first time in the coming weeks before providing an update at the next shareholders’ meeting in February. 

City probe now a cold case

The Premier League’s investigation into Manchester City is in danger of dragging on for so long that the key agitators will no longer be involved in football when it reaches its conclusion. 

It has long been known that Manchester United and Liverpool were among the voices calling for action against the champions and were thought to be key to a 2020 bid, revealed by Sportsmail, to get City banned from the Champions League.

However, both are up for sale and, with speculation about further investment from sovereign wealth funds rife, it remains to be seen whether new owners will have the same thirst for blue blood. 

Those wanting action against Man City have all stepped away from football in recent years

The publication of West Ham’s accounts showed vice-chairman Karren Brady had doubled her annual salary to a whopping £2.24million.

At the time, Hammers insiders said the payment included a £1m bonus in recognition of the Apprentice star’s role in bringing billionaire investor Daniel Kretinsky to the table.

To say that claim led to raised eyebrows is an understatement. It is widely thought the key players in bringing in the Czech billionaire — who owns 27 per cent of the club and is expected to complete a takeover at a later date — were actually a well-known UK agent with close links to David Sullivan, and a Czech counterpart who has been very close to Kretinsky for years.

Karren Brady’s annual salary from West Ham rose to £2.24m, including a £1m bonus payment

As tough gigs go, this one takes some beating. Tottenham, who on Saturday saw 60 fans stage a protest against their owners ENIC and chairman Daniel Levy at the training ground in Enfield, are seeking a Supporter Liaison Executive.

The successful applicant will ‘help to represent their (fans’) voice within the club’. It is pointed out that candidates should be ‘capable of dealing with difficult supporter-facing situations with sensitivity and professionalism’, although strangely there is no mention of needing a thick skin.

Panicked Premier League officials have pencilled in this Thursday for when they expect the dreaded white paper on football’s independent regulator will be published. But Whitehall sources tell Sports Agenda that D-Day is not likely to arrive until next month.

MCC members were stunned to find the digital questionnaire asking them which minor games should be axed at Lord’s — triggered by the fallout from their now-reversed decision to can the Harrow v Eton and Oxford v Cambridge clashes — could be filled in as many times as they liked and sent to others to complete. 

Amid claims of another cock-up, MCC officials say each link carried a unique URL which meant only one result per member was recorded.

MCC officials said there was no issue with multiple votes about plans for games at Lord’s

Reports coming out of India suggesting cricket has failed to make the LA 2028 Olympic programme may be a little premature. The speculation has met with deafening silence from the IOC, ICC and LA28 organisers. Some industry insiders feel there could be mischief-making afoot.

Concerned fans of West Bromwich were granted an audience with the club’s CEO last week following numerous protests about the Baggies’ ownership.

Albion chief Ron Gourlay met Action For Albion, who have been highlighting issues including current owner Guochuan Lai twice defaulting on a multi-million pound loan made by the club to one of his companies.

The group were assured by Gourlay that he expects the loan to be repaid, but further reports have emerged casting doubt on Lai’s ability to do that and his links to the organisation — Wisdom Smart Corporation — that received the loan in the first place.

This comes in the week Sandwell Council granted an ‘asset of community status’ order to protect the Hawthorns from a quick sale. Albion’s ground is secured against a £20m loan taken out by the club from MSD Holdings. One to watch…

West Bromwich Albion chief Ron Gourlay met Action For Albion over recent fan protests

Spare a thought for old friend of the column Roland Wycherley. 

The octogenarian Shrewsbury chairman, who made a fool of himself at Anfield when his club took on Liverpool by repeatedly pretending to mistake Sir Kenny Dalglish for fellow Liverpool legend Ian Rush, was incensed during a recent Shrews clash with Fleetwood when the visiting directors had the temerity to celebrate a goal from their nearby seats. 

An irate Wycherley told them that if they wished to behave like that, they should sit in the away end.

Roland’s miserable day continued when the Shrews carried out the half-time draw — and the winner was none other than Fleetwood’s chief executive. The game finished 3-0 to Fleetwood.

Roland Wycherley was antagonised by celebrating Fleetwood directors at Shrewsbury Town

Redundancies are on the way at BT Sport, following the creation of a joint venture company with Warner Bros Discovery.

There were fears that around 100 staff could be at risk, with BT’s Stratford studios to close and a relocation to WBD’s Stockley Park and Chiswick bases on the cards.

However, company insiders say the aim is for far fewer redundancies than that. New roles will be created and they plan to fill each of those with existing BT Sport staff. A consultation process has started.

A spokesperson said: ‘Finding operating efficiencies is critical to maintaining our competitiveness in a fast-evolving environment.’

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