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Triesman slams Premier League debt

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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FA chairman Lord Triesman has delivered a damning indictment on rampant debt in the Premier League – and his calls for greater financial transparency from football clubs have clearly riled Richard Scudamore.

Calling upon clubs to stop hiding ‘toxic debts’ through complicated ownership and debt repackaging methods, Triesman claimed city sources said Premier League clubs currently owe some £3billion – and warned: “A (financial) review is inevitable, and it is better that football takes this on than government. Anyone who doubts this should to listen to government.”

The FA chairman has impressed since his appointment, partly because of his willingness to stand up to the Premier League.

And his speech at the Leaders in Football conference at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge has been interpreted in some quarters as a warning to Premier League bosses that the FA is finally ready to try and curb some of their excesses.

FA chairman Triesman outlined his belief football clubs are community assets, and deemed it unacceptable for club’s owners to view them merely as commodities whose only value is in the real estate markets.

And his words have predictably prompted a frosty response from Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore, who claimed such debt is “inevitable and acceptable” as long as “the level of debt is proportionate to income and levels of risk”.

While Scudamore’s description of the FA as just “competitors in the market place” certainly suggest there is a bigger divide than ever before between the two organisations – one which, it has been suggested, could even see the Premier League withdraw its support for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.

Such a move could only be perceived as a direct attack on Triesman – and would backfire on both Scudamore and the Premier League itself, if fans perceived them to be in any way trying to scupper England’s chances of hosting the 2018 tournament.

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