Triesman puts squeeze on Premier League funds

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The Independent Online

The Football Association chairman Lord Triesman has launched a double-pronged challenge to the Premier League by calling on England's top flight to hand over more money to the rest of the game and for a ban on transfers of players under 18.

The FA's relationship with the Premier League is at a all-time low and Triesman's latest call will strain it even further. It comes less than a month after the FA's independent chairman infuriated league executives by calling for a limit on club debts.

Triesman said at the FT Sport Industry Summit in London on Tuesday that the league should increase its contribution to the Football League, currently £90m over three years.

He said: "There needs to be a greater equality of resources available to the individual clubs, if you have huge disparities in resource you are going to have significant differences in the quality of the playing staff.

"The Premier League to its credit does distribute money but it is only a degree of equalisation. You could imagine greater solidarity payments between different parts of the system.

"One of the things that concerns me a great deal is the financial frailty as you go further down the pyramid through many clubs which are absolutely integral to their towns."

Triesman did accept it was income from the Champions League which led to the biggest differences in top-flight clubs' incomes, and also announced he was backing Uefa president Michel Platini's proposals to restrict movement of Under-18 players across international boundaries.

Opponents, including the Premier League, believe the proposals are unworkable because they contravene current European Union labour laws – they would prevent for example Arsenal signing players such as Cesc Fabregas when he was 16.

"We still don't bring enough young English players through to the top of the game," added Triesman. "I believe we do need to restrict the trading of Under-18 players and their movement around. If it can be accommodated in European law, it is well worth considering. Is it really OK for youngsters simply to be traded around the world? Is that desirable either for them or for clubs who could lose them too easily?"

The Premier League's solidarity payments to the Football League are £30m a year, including parachute payments to the three relegated clubs. When payments to the Professional Footballers' Association, Football Foundation and charities are including, the league hands out £120m annually. Asked about Triesman's call, a Premier League spokesman said: "We are always happy to have a conversation."

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The Premier League's annual payment, in millions, to the Football League.

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