Scudamore: “One false move on IP and the kids get it”

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Notes from a launch

Many say the Premier League is the richest, biggest and best in the world. We know this because they tell us. It is a “global phenomenon” and “the most watched football league in the world.”

The Premier League, like most sports bodies, is not a recent convert to the power of our players, clubs and activities to engage. In fact ahead of the new season, on July 2nd, the Premier League announced updated funding for their ‘Premier League 4 Sport’ programme in conjunction with Sport England.

At the press launch, the media handouts and discussion centred around the seven-year old community cohesion and police engagement programme ‘Kickz‘.  Kickz is now being referred to as ‘Kicks’ in all the Premier League communications without any explanation – anyone know why?

The media release from July 2nd explained Kickz, now ‘Kicks’:

“Kickz is a joint venture between the Premier League and the police, and has been running since 2006, using football to help 71,500 young people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country become involved in sport.

“As a result of the partnership with Sport England, an extra 30,000 young people will be engaged over the next three years, a further 3,000 volunteers being trained and 600 competitions delivered.”

But, what was interesting during the discussion hosted by Mark Chapman and Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, were his comments relating to the ‘Intellectual Property’ (IP) protection of the Premier League broadcasting and brand rights.

Scudamore said:

“We do need Government, candidly speaking, to keep the whole virtuous circle going in terms of IP rights, brand protection in terms of making sure that we have the incentives to invest…”

Sitting next to Rt. Hon. Maria Miller MP – Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Scudamore turned to her and said:

“I am being very crass, and I will credit my Head of Policy Bill Bush with this. He said “one false move on IP and the kids get it”. You know, and that’s the truth.

Suddenly, if there is no value in Premier League rights around the world there is no Kickz, there is no investment in grassroots and therefore it’s a very important part to what we do.”

Bill Bush was formerly with the BBC and DCMS, advising Tessa Jowell and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Here is part of the recorded transcript from the event: 

Mark Chapman, host: 

Kickz is the project that everyone knows, Richard, please tell everyone here about Kickz.

Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive, Premier League:
(Inaudible)…well, we were having conversations with (former Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner) Tim Godwin and then we were saying ‘you pay more to police Premier League matches’ (inaudible), so on balance we were using our football clubs to improve social inclusion and social cohesion and everything else, so the genesis of Kickz came out of an argument.

(Tim Godwin) said ‘can we not do something more structured, organised and definitive?’ We actually came up between us with this concept of Kickz and it actually started in London with the Metropolitan Police and they said we want to involve everyone in our 32 boroughs.

We used our club name, club branding, club badges, club community coaches (inaudible) please get into these hard to reach places and get to some of these young people who really have not had a great start in life and there are people on the edge or at risk of falling into crime and that’s where it (Kickz) started.

And, of course, it’s grown. There are now 100 schemes with 46 clubs are doing it and it’s been a fantastic success and the incidences of anti-social behaviour and diversionary activities have been fantastic.

It has even inspired our international work. We are working in Brazil – favelas in Brazil, Indonesia and Calcutta where they have engaged police forces from these cities and we work with them, so ‘Inspired by Kickz’ is now international – it is a fantastic scheme, a fantastic thing.

The idea that we are able to extend it now, just as public funding is tight and when local authorities are finding it hard to find match funding or in kind, and we can come together with Sport England and hopefully make this (inaudible).

Mark Chapman, host:
What are the benefits of the Premier League working with Sport England and with other governing bodies?

Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive, Premier League:
Two reasons – get the first one out of the way, economically of course. When you put a pound in and they put a pound in it gives you more.

Then you go and find partnership funding out in the regions and the partnerships…it’s like the Football Foundation – we put our money in, Sport England put theirs in and then we go, well we only fund to about 60% up to the cost of the project and somebody else puts 40% in, so on the economic side we turn our £10 million pounds into £50 million pounds worth of facilities so it’s the same for all of us.

So, it’s an economic advantage, but more importantly, is the expertise that Sport England has in terms of other sports, of course the relationships with other sports is useful and also, quite candidly, the relationship they have with Government.

They have, somewhat a more, tighter, relationship with Government, perhaps, in one sense, than we do and therefore it’s all about (inaudible)…the more partners that we have in the room that are like-minded the better it is for us.

We do need Government, candidly speaking, to keep the whole virtuous circle going in terms of IP (Intellectual Property) rights, brand protection in terms of making sure that we have the incentives to invest, great and fantastic though it is the Premier League, from which all these things get it (inaudible).

I am being very crass, and I will credit my Head of Policy Bill Bush with this, he said “one false move on IP and the kids get it”. You know, and that’s the truth. Suddenly, if there is no value in Premier League rights around the world there is no Kickz, there is no investment in grassroots and therefore it’s a very important part to what we do.

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