Premier League clubs have approved the controversial move to give departing chief executive Richard Scudamore a £5 million ($6.3 million) farewell gift.
The Premier League said the golden handshake was proposed by its audit and remuneration committee and “supported and endorsed by the clubs”.
All 20 top-flight teams discussed Scudamore’s leaving bonus, which had sparked widespread protests from fans, at Premier League shareholders’ meeting in London on Thursday.
The money will be paid over three years and will depend on the 59-year-old agreeing to a “comprehensive set of non-compete clauses” in terms of the roles he takes on in the future.
Scudamore, who earns a reported £2.5 million per year, has also agreed to remain available to his successor Susanna Dinnage “in an advisory capacity”.
The Premier League said the farewell bonus was “in recognition of the outstanding work Richard has carried out over the last 19 years” and the league would like to put on record its thanks for his “exceptional contribution to the success of the league”.
First mooted by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, a close ally of Scudamore’s and the chairman of the audit and remuneration committee, the idea was labelled “hugely unpopular” by the Football Supporters’ Federation.
“Premier League clubs have always told fan groups that budgets are planned in advance and there’s not a surplus of cash lying around from their extremely lucrative TV deal,” the FSF said.
“In the meantime, loyal football supporters continue to be inconvenienced by fixture changes to fit TV schedules, often losing out on travel costs or struggling to get to and from games in the first place.
“Now it appears clubs can stick their hands down the back of the sofa and find £250,000 at a moment’s notice.
“Fans strongly oppose the ‘golden handshake’ and we urge clubs not to make a decision which is hugely unpopular with supporters.”
Including bonuses, Scudamore has earned more than £26 million for running the Premier League since 1999.
The £5 million gift, which will see each Premier League club pay £250,000 into the pot, is in addition to Scudamore’s final bonus for negotiating the most recent set of lucrative broadcast deals.
Scudamore has overseen the Premier League’s growth into vast commercial superpower, with some of the richest clubs in the world based in England and attracting huge investment from foreign billionaires with an eye for a profit.
The Premier League’s British television rights were valued at £670 million when Scudamore took charge, but that figure has increased to £5.14 billion.