'Premier League should give more money to grass roots football'
Atherton Town v Atherton Town Youth - the kind of football that should benefit from Premier League money, according to MP David Crausby
MORE should be done to help local football teams, says MP David Crausby.
The MP for Bolton North East has been campaigning for more than a year for the Premier League to give a greater percentage of its TV rights to grassroots football.
His petition, calling on the government to make the footballing body "top slice" 7.5 per cent of its broadcasting rights — equivalent to £37.5 million — for community-led teams has collected more than 30,600 signatures so far.
During a parliamentary debate in Westminster Hall, he said: “I know that these are difficult, austere times for the country’s economy, and no-one really expects the government to find the millions and millions of pounds needed to fund the game properly.
“However, while local authorities have lost income, the Premier League has been handed an even greater windfall.
"Domestic broadcasting rights for 2012 to 2015 were sold for £3 billion, with an estimated £2 billion expected from international rights.
“That is £5 billion in total — nearly as much as the value of Royal Mail. We need a new settlement for grassroots football.
"After all, it is the national game, not the Premier League’s game.”
Sport minister Helen Grant said the Premier League, along with the FA and government, pay into the Football Foundation — a new grassroots fund that will contribute towards improving existing facilities and creating new pitches across the country.
She added: “The Premier League is investing £56 million a season between 2013 and 2016 on community-focused projects and facilities, and as Mr Crausby will know, the constituent Premier League clubs often deliver significant programmes in their own local communities, independently of the FA’s collective action.
"I am open to discussing new ventures with the FA and the Premier League.
“However, I believe that they are already making significant contributions of their own accord, which should not be underestimated.”
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