MPs push Premier League windfall

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The television rights to Premier League football should be hit by a windfall tax to fund the game's grass roots, a group of MPs said on Wednesday.

The MPs argued there was a "compelling argument" for a levy on television money which had "enriched beyond belief" a small number of Premier League clubs, players and owners, but had done "very little" to boost the lower echelons of the game.

Noting that the latest three-year TV deal was worth £2.7billion - 1.66% of the country's deficit - the MPs said any tax proceeds should be ring-fenced to support low-level football and improve community facilities.

Nine MPs from five different political parties signed a Commons motion tabled by Labour's Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Hall Green).

It read: "This House recognises that the vast sums of television money poured into the English Premier League, including £2.7billion during the current three-year contract, equivalent to 1.66% of the country's current financial deficit, have enriched beyond belief a small number of Premier football clubs, their players, agents and global owners but is doing very little to help grass roots football or to develop potential English players of the future.

"Therefore, there is a compelling argument for a windfall tax on television monies coming into football similar to the windfall tax that was levied on the privatised utilities after 1997.

"The proceeds of such a tax should be ring-fenced, administered by the Football Foundation and used to support the development of grass roots football in the UK and the retention and improvement of existing football pitches and changing facilities owned by sports clubs and local authorities which are going to be under even more threat by the squeeze on public expenditure."

The motion has been signed by Labour's Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) and John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington), Liberal Democrats Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South), Bob Russell (Colchester) and Stephen Williams (Bristol West), Tory Peter Bottomley (Worthing West), Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) and DUP MP Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry).

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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