Relations between football fans and players must be improved says Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis


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The Independent Football

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis today admitted work needed to be done to prevent mega-rich players becoming even more out of touch with ordinary fans.

Gazidis admitted the rise of the Premier League had created "a lot of issues" in terms of the relationship between supporters, players and clubs.

He told the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge: "The introduction of money and the extraordinary growth of revenues that we see in the game is a fantastic success story.

"But it clearly creates a lot of issues in terms of how our fans are able to feel that they're still connected with those players, who are earning enormous amounts of money.

"That's something that we have to continue to work on to make sure that we can make fans still feel proud of their football clubs."

Gazidis also called on English football to learn from Major League Soccer and co-operate more closely for the benefit of all.

The former MLS deputy commissioner said: "That's a league which does not have massive television revenues and, yet, in the space of the last decade, they have built across the US and Canada 15 new stadiums.

"They have put that infrastructure in place and I believe they've done that because, culturally, they've been able to think of each other not only as competitors but also as partners, and think very strategically about what they need to do in order to put in place the elements they need for future success.

"Football has not been good at that. It's not culturally part of our DNA and it's something that we need to work on.

"We need to work together to find solutions, because we're much, much stronger together."