(WFI) On the eve of the new Premier League season, chief executive Richard Scudamore has rejected claims that the league is not developing enough players to aid England’s quest for trophies.
Commenting on the club versus country debate, he told last night’s BT Sport football show Life’s a Pitch. “We aren’t England, we don’t run the England team, there is nothing about the Premier League that is responsible for the England team.
“I can’t deny there is a link, our clubs do develop players. They’re [The FA] not developing players, and if we aren’t developing players that can compete on a world stage then clearly there is some responsibility for that, that is ours.”
“There’s 200 players able to play for England playing in the Premier League. Two hundred is a lot to choose from and there is no point saying we need two hundred and fifty or three hundred if those players aren’t good enough to be any better than the one’s we’ve got,” he argued.
“For us it’s about quality which is why we have this huge investment of £340m ($532m) going into youth development.”
“It’s so important for the future, not just the England team, but the whole of English football. We have got to produce a larger crop of better players.”
Scudamore also denied that foreign owners or managers were any more resistant than English managers to making their players available for England duty at the expense of their clubs.
“Don’t make a difference between foreign-owned and English-owned. There is not a club owner that puts the success of the England team ahead of their own clubs success in the Premier League,” he said.
“The reality is are they doing the right things, are they trying to improve the lot of that football club, are they doing the right things on the field and are they conducting themselves properly within the rules off the field, are they investing in youth and community. All that matters to us is are they doing the right things.”
Scudamore also hit back at comments made by Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor, who recently claimed the game was “in danger of losing its soul” because of selfish players and greedy owners.
“The players don’t know how lucky they are nowadays,” Taylor was quoted in a Daily Telegraph report.
Scudamore said: “When was this period when the soul thing existed. All I know is there are more people interested than there ever were.
“The stadia are better, the pitches are better, the sports science is better, the athleticism of the players is better, the game is quicker, technically its better, there’s so much about the modern game that I personally am proud of.”
“It’s pretty hard to identify what Gordon really meant about that.”
He added: “I’m not going to sit here and deny there is an element of our historical fanbase that probably have been disenfranchised. If you’re unemployed in this country right now, the idea that you can afford to go to a Premier League game is not right.”
“If you earn the average wage in this country, about twenty seven thousand pounds per year depends entirely on your circumstance about whether you can go to the football or not.”
New Football Association chairman Greg Dyke put the FA on a collision course with the Premier League when he called for the tournament to be moved to winter, in comments made last Friday.
The Premier League position is clear – Scudamore has said the 2022 World Cup should be relocated if it could not be held in summer, claiming a move to winter would spark global “chaos” in the world football calendar.
He reiterated the Premier League’s stance on the BT Sport show.
“If FIFA decide the World Cup can’t be played there then my view is the last thing they should be thinking about is moving it to the winter,” he said.
“The idea of moving this to the winter is chaos, winter is when we play our domestic football. The other European leagues are supportive of our position, they have written this week to Mr Blatter on this.”
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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