League says PFA deal is 'adequate'

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The Independent Football

The Premier League hit back yesterday in its dispute with the Professional Footballers' Association over television income, saying it had offered the union "significantly more" money than before and that any claims to the contrary were "absolutely untrue".

The PFA received £7.5m per year from the League under the last television deal, which was worth £150m a year. The union says it is now being offered £5.2m a year to help fund its work – which includes supporting needy players – even though the League's television income is now £550m per year.

The PFA has said the offer is "an insult" and has announced it will ballot its members on strike action unless it receives a greater share. However, the Premier League said yesterday that its position has been misrepresented.

"No one is disputing the fact that payments should be made to players for education, welfare and benefits," Philip French, the League's spokesman, said. "That is why we have offered the PFA significantly more money than last time, much more than £7.5m.

"A combination of this and revenue from other sources available to the PFA [membership subscriptions, commercial income] will more than adequately fund the players' needs."

Although the League will not state precisely how much has been offered to the PFA, it says that the union's accounts show its expenditure will be more than covered. According to the accounts, the PFA spent £1.5m last year from its benevolent fund, and £11m in total.

The union's chief executive, Gordon Taylor, has said that the union, which has £20m tied up in benevolent funds, will have to curtail its work unless it receives more money. Some funding, including some education grants, is already on hold.

* Sepp Blatter, the head of game's world governing body, Fifa, says he believes some club teams are doping players to improve their performance without the players' knowledge. Blatter did not name specific teams, but contends that in some recent cases of doping the clubs might have been giving players illegal substances without their consent. "I believe the players when they swear that they are innocent," Blatter said on Monday. "They should not be angry at us. They should look at their clubs."

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