Accrington chairman criticises 'out of touch' Premier League after threatening to withdraw solidarity payments

Andy Holt criticised the Premier League, only for them to respond with thinly-veiled threats

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The Independent Football

Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt's scathing attack on the Premier League over the eye-watering amounts paid to top-flight players and their agents has been met with a fierce response from the league, who issued a thinly-disguised threat to withdraw funding for lower-league clubs.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday night, Holt repeatedly accused the Premier League of "destroying the game" by allowing huge amounts of wealth to accumulate at its top end while many owners take profits abroad.

The Premier League's response has stunned fans and administrators, with its menacing tone and underlying threat to Stanley's existence. 

"The Premier League supports all clubs in the EFL with Solidarity Payments and provides significant funding for their community projects and youth development schemes - all things that Accrington Stanley benefit from.


Accrington Stanley depend on payments from the Football League

"It is only because of the interest in our competition and in Premier League clubs that we can support Accrington, the wider football pyramid, and communities and schools across the country. 

"We will be writing to Mr Holt to ask him if he wishes fro the Premier League to continue the support we currently provide for his and other clubs in the EFL."

Holt responded by reiterating his criticism of the league's "disgraceful largesse", but also clarifying that it was his personal opinion as to not jeopardise the financial status of clubs like his that are dependent on financial handouts.

It is understood Accrington and each League Two club will receive just £430,000 in solidarity payments from the Premier League this season. Just over one week of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's salary.

The payments are linked to the value of the Premier League's broadcasting rights, with League One clubs getting £650,000 each and Championship clubs £4.3million.

"Yesterday I had the temerity to criticise the Premier League for the disgraceful largesse with funds, transfer fees, agent fees that TV money has allowed to get out of control.

“I said they should hang their heads in shame at the £41,390,000 allegedly paid to agents in the transfer of Paul Pogba to Manchester United.

“I did not say that anything illegal or improper took place. I did say that the Premier League should be ashamed about this largesse when the pyramid is so stretched outside the top tier.

“In response to my comments the Premier League threatened to stop any funding for EFL clubs. I class this as a threat too far.

“My personal response is that they can please themselves with their funds. However, I do not speak for the EFL or it's member clubs, I do stress it's my personal opinion.”


Richard Scudamore is the Premier League's chairman (Getty Images)

The initial Premier League response came after Holt had tweeted on Tuesday: "Hang your heads in shame premierleague you are an absolute disgrace to English football."

He continued: "... your largesse is ruining the pyramid and England national team.... your largesse should be the focus of fans fury. You're destroying the game, not 'rogue' owners."

Holt sought to draw a stark comparison between the fee reportedly paid to Pogba's agent and the annual budget at League Two club Stanley, which he said is almost 20 times smaller.

Holt added: "We run our club with less than this... £2.2m THIS is the problem with the English game.

"The cash paid to this agent is almost double the funding for all the EFL SkyBetLeagueTwo clubs put together. WAKE UP premierleague.

"The EFL is like a starving peasant begging for scraps off your table premierleague. Owners might ruin clubs, you're destroying the game.

"Bodies involved in football are disparate... [governing bodies] have own interests to look out for not the health of the game."