The Governing Body?
By Mark Murphy
The Premier League’s self-obsession and self-importance continues to amaze.
The League played the pivotal role in the demise of pay-TV channel Setanta, a fact largely overlooked by an obsequious press.
And when the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently published a report of the dangers of money-laundering in the modern cash-rich game, the League’s sole concern was that the report’s compilers hadn’t come to them for a contribution.
Setanta’s inability to secure a rescue package had centred on taxation problems, which were being solved at high governmental levels, thanks to the FA’s new Chief Executive Ian Watmore, a senior civil servant in a previous life.
The Premier League had nothing to lose from giving Setanta an extra 72 hours to pay the £10m due on 19 June. Other organisations throughout sport were prepared to be flexible. But that didn’t matter to the Premier League.
Setanta’s collapse has had a detrimental effect on other parts of the National Game. Not least the ‘National Game,’ - still commonly known as ‘Non-League Football.’
The Blue Square Conference had a lucrative TV rights deal with Setanta. The finances involved mattered to clubs at that level. But that didn’t matter to the Premier League, either.
The FTAF, inter-governmental lobbyists for legislation to combat money-laundering, raised the issue of football’s vulnerability in this area, in the wake of the game’s recent and still increasing popularity among the world’s filthy rich.
With that trend most obvious in the Premier League, thanks to the relative ease with which individuals can obtain clubs, or controlling interests therein, the warnings were particularly pertinent to the English game. But even that didn’t matter to the Premier League.
They were, instead, irritated that the FATF had chosen the FA as their English point of reference, on the not unreasonable basis that the FA is the English game’s governing body. But that didn’t etc...
So for the sake of waiting a few days for a few quid, the Premier League was prepared to threaten the very existence of fellow football clubs in this country.
And for the sake of the gods alone know what, they were prepared to all-but-ignore the important issue of an important report into the potential misuse of the game’s considerable finances.
The Premiership is just a league, one component part, albeit the richest one, of football in England. For it to continually show such disregard for the other component parts is a disgrace.
The Premier League was formed simply to grab all the TV money. What more do they want?.
Tags: Premier League, Setanta, Blue Square Conference, FA, Premiership