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Government should “levy” Premier League if it fails grassroots

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The newly-elected chair of an influential Parliamentary committee has said that Government should look to levy or adminster an “appropriate tax” on the Premier League if it fails to support grassroots football.

Speaking to Channel 4 news last night, Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Jesse Norman MP, said that the Premier League’s current contribution to grassroots football was “way short” of what it should be, and added that the Premier League should be made to honour its commitment to give 5% of its broadcasting revenues to grassroots football.

 Asked about the Premier League’s current contribution to grassroots football, Norman said: “It’s frankly way short of where they should be and it’s way short of what the Premiership originally promised they would fund grass roots football.”

“They were originally going to do 5% of broadcasting rights – they’ve had a deal for £5.1bn already, probably another three or four billion to come from international rights.

“So they should be funding something like five or ten times the amount of money they’re presently paying in.

“If they can’t be brought to the table to fund at the level they’ve already committed to, given that the grassroots game is really struggling at the moment, the Government should look hard at a levy or some kind of appropriate tax that will bring the Premiership and the clubs to the table.

“If you have a voluntary system that isn’t working then sometimes the Government maybe forced to come in. I’m just saying the Government needs to look at this.”

Jesse Norman is the latest high-profile Conservative MP to criticise the Premier League on the use of its broadcast money. Earlier this month, the new Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said that the Premier League should give much more towards lower leagues and grassroots football. 

“I think the fact we are still lagging behind other footballing nations in our facilities is appalling and I really want to make sure the Premier League make a decent contribution to improving that situation,” she said at a Sport England event. “I am genuinely rather appalled that they don’t.”

 See the full Channel 4 news interview with Jesse Norman MP below…

Thanks to Policy Exchange for the photo used in this article. Reproduced here under CC licence.

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