Football facing government intervention
Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) chief executive Gordon Taylor believes the £200 million splurge in the January transfer window and the ludicrously inflated wages in the Premier League are being closely monitored by the British Government.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is currently conducting an inquiry into the state of English football, which is sure to focus on the enormous sums lavished on players in fees and wages at a time of deep recession, job losses, and hardship among ordinary fans.
In an exclusive interview with ESPNsoccernet, Taylor has called upon clubs not to try to offset the cost of player recruitment by raising ticket prices, and the PFA chief feels that the government may be forced to act to enforce even more stringent financial regulations than will be provided by UEFA's financial fair play initiative.
"Clubs need to be mindful of excessive spending in the present recession," Taylor told ESPNsoccernet. ''UEFA's financial fair play rules are going to have an impact, but that doesn't appear to be enough to stem the flow of money on players.
"There will be questions now that some clubs have pushed the barriers even higher with transfer fees and that will be viewed in relation to the role of spectators, what role they should be playing within the game, within the clubs; how lowly paid, the unemployed, are given the same chance to see their teams as the wealthy corporate sector.
"I really hope it is not the case that clubs try to pass on the excess spending onto their fanbase and put up ticket prices. I hope that is not the outcome. If the crowds drop away, then that will be a dire warning to the game.''
The PFA is especially concerned about the development of young players and while Taylor is pleased to see the Premier League adopting the 25-man squad and eight homegrown players initiative, he feels that clubs still have a lot to answer for when it comes to bringing youngsters through.
"How can the industry rectify this growing problem?'' he said. ''UEFA are trying with their financial fair play rules, as are the Premier League with the 25-man squad system. Perhaps the next stage is that more of the home developed players must take the field from the start rather than sit on the bench.
"The next generation of players must be encouraged, and clubs recognise they must see more results from youth development programmes.
"With the Government inquiry reaching its conclusions later this month, the game can expect some tough examination about the way it is going. The game has to have some answers."