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Premier League should “at least double” its grassroots investment

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and Supporters Direct merged to become the FSA in 2019 – so this page may contain hyperlinks that do not work and/or have missing files. Our archived pages are not maintained and will not be updated.

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The Premier League’s funding towards grassroots football should be “at least double” its current level according to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

John Whittingdale, the new minister for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, was answering questions from MPs today about issues in football – including the distribution of TV revenues across the game, as well as reform of FIFA.

Asked by MPs whether or not the Premier League should provide more of its TV revenue to grassroots football, Whittingdale replied: “Without question.” When pressed about the increase he thought necessary, he said: “At least double.”

“The Premier League is enjoying a complete bonanza,” he told MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. “I do think there should be considerably more going down through to grassroots.”

MPs on the committee heard about the lack of all-weather pitches available at grassroots level in England – fewer than 700, compared to Germany where there are more than 5,000.

“The Premier League will benefit if players are attracted to the game because of the facilities available at the grassroots level,” Whittingdale said. “If the Premier League absolutely refuses to do more I think we will certainly look at legislation, but I hope that can be avoided.”

Whittingdale told MPs this would likely take the form of a levy or a windfall tax. “We’ll look at the possiblity of enforcing this through legislation if the Premier League are unwilling to increase their investment.”

Thanks to Gordon Wrigley for the image used in this story. Reproduced here under CC licence. 

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