Football League goes on new PR offensive

The Football League has parted company with its lobbying firm Westminster Strategy and is on the verge of appointing a new agency to handle a much wider PR brief. Lowe Bell is tipped as the likely candidate.

The Football League has parted company with its lobbying firm

Westminster Strategy and is on the verge of appointing a new agency to

handle a much wider PR brief. Lowe Bell is tipped as the likely

candidate.



The move is part of a wide-ranging review of the 72-club Football

League’s operations under its new nine-man board headed by Ipswich Town

chairman David Sheepshanks.



The first part of the process was the commissioning of management

consultancy Deloitte Touche to produce an in-depth report on the

structure of the league and recommend ways to modernise it. It is due to

deliver its report in time for the league’s AGM in June.



At around the same time the league hired a new PR consultant: veteran

football writer and former QPR chief executive Dennis Signy. He

described his role as ’advising on issues’ - while the league’s press

liaison officer, Chris Hull, continues to handle routine press

enquiries.



The league has also been trawling for a PR agency. Lowe Bell was one of

four agencies which pitched last week for the account, which is believed

to be worth some pounds 200,000 in fees.



The appointment, if confirmed, is likely to involve a team drawn from

both Lowe Bell’s lobbying and financial PR agencies, reflecting the fact

that there is increasing interest in football clubs as an investment

vehicle.



Westminster Strategy has handled public affairs for the Football League

since 1993 as part of a joint account with the Premier League and the

Football Association. It has also run the press office for the breakaway

Premier League since 1994. WS director Mike Lee said the agency’s work

with the FA and Premier League would continue.



The major issues facing the Football League include the dwindling funds

available for clubs in the lower divisions from the Football Trust, as a

result of the football pools being hit by the National Lottery.

Negotiations over TV rights and the transfer mechanism have also proved

contentious.



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