Labour party proposes grassroots levy for Premier League

Premier League faces renewed calls for 5% of TV revenue to be distributed to grassroots football

Premier League clubs could be forced to pay a levy on TV revenue to increase support for grassroots football, according to new policy proposals from the Labour Party.

Labour is consulting on policy plans that aim to boost investment in community sport by “getting tough” on the Premier League, which will earn £5.5bn from its current three-year domestic and overseas TV deals.

The wide-ranging consultation document – which also examines the possibility of a levy on sports betting companies to increase provision for community sport and help raise awareness about problem gambling – calls on the Premier League to honour a commitment made to the Football Task Force in 1999 to contribute five percent of its TV revenue to grassroots football, criticising the league for falling short of the target.

The Premier League argues that not only did that agreement expire in 2006/07, but that it required them to contribute five percent of its domestic TV revenue only, a figure it currently exceeds with the £56m spent each year on grassroots football and community projects across the country.

Critics argue that the five percent should also apply to overseas TV revenue, which generates over £800m a year, and that only £12m of the £56m is directly invested in grassroots football, through the FA & Premier League Facilities Fund, which also receives £12m a year from the Football Association and £10m a year from government. The remaining £44m finds it way to other good causes, such as education or health projects, or schemes looking to get people back to work.

Labour has criticised the Premier League for a “lack of clarity” over what counts towards the levy, while Shadow Sports Minister Clive Efford MP told the The Independent that the Premier League has a “moral obligation” to meet the commitment and that they “will not get away with brushing off the Government any more.”

The announcement increases pressure on the Premier League, who also face renewed calls from the Save Grassroots Football campaign, backed by Labour MP David Crausby to commit 7.5 percent of TV revenue to the grassroots game.

The Premier League remains steadfast, pointing out that no other domestic or European sporting body redistributes more revenue to grassroots and community sport.

“Last season we invested in 52 new artificial grass pitches (AGPs) and hundreds of new grass pitches across the country via the new Premier League and FA Facilities Fund,” said a Premier League statement.

“Our money will deliver a further 100 plus new community AGPs in the next two years. In addition £60m flows down to the Football League and Conference clubs in the form of solidarity, Youth Development and communities funding.

“Working closely with our clubs, we also support projects that focus on improving sports coaching in schools and inspiring young people to play sport. All of this activity is part of our £56m per season investment in good causes and grassroots sport.

“We understand that all those interested in the long-term health of English football want to see better grassroots facilities and higher levels of participation, particularly amongst young people. This is why we are committed to continue the unprecedented levels of funding we provide as well as being happy to engage on these matters.”

Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman said: “Our consultation looks at a number of ideas which aim to boost investment in community and grassroots sports by getting tough with the Premier League and betting companies, bringing back two hours of sport at schools a week and encouraging more people to take part – girls as well as boys.

“We need strong government leadership to create a long term innovative plan for sport and that is what this consultation seeks to do.”

You can find out more about Labour’s plans and submit your views via the Your Britain website.

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. Mick Breen on July 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    It is essential that the costs surrounding grass roots football must be significantly reduced in order to reverse the trend of falling participation amongst our children.

  2. karl jones on July 25, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    As a coach at grass roots haven’t had or seen much help to buy the new 9v9 goals as we had 3 teams moving into this age group. The fa I believe helped for the first year by paying half towards goals feel this needed to carry on for longer period of time to allow clubs to get organised.
    finding pitches too has been hard. With schools only using 7v7 pitches funding for schools to pay for the 9v9 goals and pitches might be a good way to solve the problem. Mini soccer centres are great that seems to have worked with use of 3g pitches and allowing 6 teams to play at once. Feel help stops for the kids u11 and above.

  3. james Cox on July 31, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    As a manager of a kids football team for the past 9 years taking them from u8’s to u16’s this season I can honestly say that support fro the local fa and from community has been abysmal. It usually costs me personally around £1,000 to run the team. Most of my lads come from underprivileged backgrounds but the local community charge us unbelievable fees to use pitches and train. We usually do an annual summer tournament to raise funds but this is decimated by the local councils fees to use the land and mark out the pitches.. It really is disgusting.. While we clubs and managers are striving to do our bit for the community and the local area, we are just seen as a nuisance by job worth park keepers and councillors. It really is not good for the game.. Grass roots – that’s where English football talent is grown! Very disgruntled.. I hope that what is being suggested I implemented and makes a difference to make it fun to be in a football club in the future.

  4. james Cox on July 31, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    please amend my previous comment to read correctly.. It costs me around £1,000 “per season.”

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