The Reds managing director had said: ‘If you’re in Kuala Lumpur there isn’t anyone subscribing to Astro, or ESPN to watch Bolton; the large majority are subscribing because they want to watch Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal.
‘So is it right that the international rights are shared equally between all the clubs?’
However, he claims his comments have been misinterpreted as the early stages of a bid by the club to go it alone in terms of negotiating their own deals in future.
‘What I said – and what we were trying to put forward and the debate we have been trying to open up – is not about Liverpool trying to break away and sell their own rights,’ he said. ‘At the moment the way the rights are sold collectively is great and generates a significant amount of revenue.
‘However, the way those values are distributed is an issue. Domestic rights are half of the total and they take 50 per cent and share it equally and the other 50 per cent is distributed on how many times you feature on TV and where you finish in the league.
‘However, internationally the figure is just divided by 20 and I don’t think that is right. The bigger clubs have a bigger appeal overseas and I think that is an issue.
‘I think it is unfortunate it has snowballed into some ridiculous tirade of media suggesting we were trying to run off and damage the league.
‘We are Liverpool Football Club and clearly that is not our game but it is something I would like to see debated.
‘The whole media rights landscape is very important as it represents about 95 per cent of the revenue we get from the league.
‘I think it needs to be addressed because I don’t think the balance is right but what it turned into was a torrent of “Liverpool are going to break away and damage the league” and quite clearly I wasn’t suggesting that.’
Ayre also expanded on where the club stand on the thorny issue of on-going plans for the stadium, whether it be a new build in Stanley Park or a revamp of Anfield.
‘We are following two parallel processes,’ he told LFC TV. ‘On the refurbishment of Anfield we have a design and in order to incorporate that it involves the acquisition of a lot of housing around the Main Stand area.
‘In order to understand whether that is achievable there are a lot of discussions to have and we are working our way through a process.
‘When we know the answer to what our opportunity is to acquiring those properties we can make a decision – until we do there is no decision to make.
‘Parallel to that, economically it doesn’t stack up building a new stadium of 60,000-plus seats and writing a cheque for that because you only get incremental revenue from those new 15,000 to 20,000 seats.
‘The only thing which makes that stack up in this economy is having a naming partner.
‘We are talking to a variety of people around the world who have good interest but if you try to force that process you actually devalue it.
‘If people think you are desperate to do a deal they will try to chip the value of that and we are not desperate – it is just important to us.
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