Fayed joins the Premiership's money machine

The Premier League chairmen held their first meeting since the resignation of Adam Crozier yesterday, but there was little sign of remorse at London's Landmark Hotel. Publicly, the league issued another statement claiming they had no designs on the Football Association's funding of the grass roots but, privately, the verdict on Crozier's exit was illustrated by the chairman who described it as "a good start".

The meeting was held in camera but The Independent has learned that Mohamed al-Fayed, the chairman of Fulham, delivered a 2,500-word submission which encapsulated the "every man for himself" mood induced by the twin demons of rising wages and falling television fees.

He told his fellow chairmen: "We must put our own interests and those of our clubs first. There are many who try to dictate to us how we should behave, who seem to think profit and financial success is a dirty concept, and that we should be guided by some higher cause. Rubbish! The best contribution we can make to the good of football is ensuring a highly successful Premier League, and highly successful clubs within it. It is that which will attract people to the sport, an increasing worldwide audience and greater investment into the game."

This appears a significant departure from last April when Fayed told The Independent that he was a spokesman for the small clubs. The FA, he said then, "are kidnapped by the strong clubs. They have all the money and don't care about the other clubs. They need a revolution to help the clubs which are suffering." The FA have since had a revolution but it is not one likely to help the smaller clubs.

It would seem Fulham's continued haemorrhaging of cash has persuaded Fayed that charity begins at home. In the 12 months to June 2001 Fulham posted losses of £22.3m, a British football club record, which would concentrate anyone's mind.

However, unlike some of his peers he does have sympathy for the smaller clubs – last year he donated all Fulham's share of the take from their FA Cup tie at York to the Third Division club's supporters' fighting fund. Speaking later at a book launch* Fayed said that he still cared about the smaller clubs. "The game needs revolution," he said. "Otherwise clubs will go into receivership one after another. Still people can't see the light, see what is happening to the lower three divisions. We should support those clubs."

His solution appears based not on hand-outs but Thatcherite top-down economics. To an extent this is true, lower division income has gone up, but the increased expenses have also filtered down. Fayed's submission did contain some shrewd suggestions. He threw his weight behind the Premier League establishing the framework of their own television channel to provide competition for Sky when the next television deal is negotiated. He also highlighted the need to develop and exploit overseas interest both through branded goods and television sales. Last time the overseas rights went for just £150m – small reward for programming which reaches 72.7m viewers in 161 territories. Closer to home, he suggested that the league should collectively agree to pay agents "a maximum of five per cent of transfer fees across the board".

The old chestnut about national assocations paying for using players was given another airing together with the imaginative suggestion that, should a player be injured on international duty, the transfer window should be opened on a case-by-case basis to sign or loan a replacement.

*Fulham: The Premiership Diary (Orion £16.99) by Harry Harris & Danny Fullbrook.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before