A BOLTON MP has launched an e-petition calling on the Premier League to put more money into grass roots football.
David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, is asking for 7.5 per cent of the league’s broadcasting rights to be invested in the amateur game.
Global broadcasting rights give the Premier League £5 billion over three seasons, from August until May.
Mr Crausby says the government “must work” with the Football Association and The Premier League to give young people more good quality pitches on which to play football.
The petition has accrued about 1,000 signatures and Mr Crausby hopes to collect more than 100,000 signatures in 12 months. It was launched on talkSPORT radio station and closes on June 27 next year.
Mr Crausby said: “I am optimistic that, if we move quickly, we will get the number of signatures required.
“Grass roots football is such an important issue. It really isn’t good enough in modern Britain to have multi-millionaire footballers who don’t know what to do with their money while young people have to play on poor pitches and get changed into their kit in a car.
“It’s no wonder not enough people are playing football in this country.
“The Premier League has a responsibility to serve the British community and put something into the game.”
He added: “Our performance in the World Cup shows that while England has the best league in the world, we need to do much more if we want our national team to be the best in the world as well."
Mr Crausby’s petition has been supported by Mick Stevens of The Friends of Horwich Football group, which was recently launched with the target of “improving both the quality and quantity of community sporting facilities in Horwich”.
Mr Stevens said: “I think it’s an idea that can work in the long term.
“There is one senior pitch in the whole of Horwich, which is not good enough.
“It seems like football in Horwich, and the whole of Bolton, is dead.”
The Premier League has insisted that it continues to invest in acquiring and developing talent “to the benefit of English football at all levels”.
A Premier League spokesman said: “Last season we invested in 52 new artificial grass pitches (AGPs) and hundreds of new grass pitches across the country via the new Premier League and FA Facilities Fund.
“We plan to invest in 100 new community AGPs in the next two years.
“Working closely with our clubs, we also deliver projects that focus on improving sports coaching in schools and inspiring young people to play sport.
“All of this activity is part of our £56 million per season investment in good causes.”
You can sign Mr Crausby's petition here.