English football faces prospect of players' strike

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Updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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London :

Footballers in England could be heading for a strike over a dispute between the Premier League - the football league, which runs the other three divisions and the Professional Footballer Association (PFA) over the issue of distribution of television revenue. The PFA is unhappy with the sum it is being offered by English football's governing bodies who have negotiated a new television deal for the next three years. The PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor says the league's latest offer of one per cent of the TV revenue is an insult. The PFA wants to use the money for the benefit of ex-players, injured players and even development schemes. And unless these demand are met, the players could refuse to play games unless all cameras are removed. "The players want to play football and I see no reason why they can't carry on playing for the benefit of the season ticket holders and the regular attendees. This is purely about television; to talk about a regular ten per cent, five per cent, but coming down to less than one per cent, we feel it shows they have no regard for the role of the PFA," Taylor argued. But the Premier League denied that the PFA is being short changed by the deal. "We value the work of the PFA and the simple fact is there is an increased offer on the table which is going to provide them with more funding than they have ever had before," explained Premier League Spokesperson Philip French. While the Roy Keane's and the Sol Campbell's of England are not short of money, the PFA argues that reduced funds for them will affect the less privileged players. "We are talking about the less fortunate players who haven't had their career breaks, players who have to have educational courses, we are one tackle away from a career ending injury, and the PFA are there to back players up," remarked Bolton Wanderers striker Dean Holdsworth. The approximately 4000 players who represent 92 clubs in England have just under a month in which to decide whether they will vote for a strike.

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