PFA set for ballot on players' strike

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The Independent Online

Ballot papers for a vote on industrial action will be sent out to 3,000 footballers on Friday, as the dispute between the players' union and the Premier League over television money enters a new phase.

The Professional Footballers' Association chief executive, Gordon Taylor, said that the union had had no further offers from the Premier League and was therefore proceeding to a vote.

If, as is expected, the players vote to boycott televised matches it is anticipated that the Premier League will immediately seek an injunction and the dispute will go to the High Court.

Taylor said: "The ballot papers will be going out on Friday to our 3,000 members. We have had no more offers from the Premier League and the club chairmen who have been in contact with us have indicated there will be no further offers."

The dispute is over whether the PFA should receive its customary five per cent of television money, or around £25m a year from the Premier League's contract with Sky and ITV.

The Premier League argues that the PFA does not need nearly so much to service its players' education and welfare funds, and has offered £9.85m a year compared with around £9.2m from the previous deal. Taylor has reacted furiously to a report from the accountants, Deloitte and Touche, which said that the PFA "had not yet proved" that it needed more money. Deloitte and Touche are the Premier League's official accountants and Taylor said that means there is a conflict of interest.

"They have not declared that they are the Premier League's accountants or that we allowed them in to audit the PFA's accounts," Taylor said.

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