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Aston Villa chief Christian Purslow: Don’t kill Premier League golden goose

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has rejected the need for an independent regulator in English football, claiming the Premier League is the game’s ‘golden goose’.

C.E.O of Aston Villa Christian Purslow
C.E.O of Aston Villa Christian Purslow

Purslow spoke out following the publication of the fan-led review into football governance by former sports minister Tracey Crouch, which has been endorsed in principle by the government.

Ministers commissioned the review in April, following the controversy surrounding the short-lived European Super League as well as the collapse of Bury FC two years ago.

The creation of an independent regulator via an Act of Parliament was the central recommendation of the review.

But Purslow rejected the need for a regulator.

He said: “My concern is whether the start point for this is really conflating the issue of the Burys of this world with the Super League; that perhaps it’s gone a little bit far.”

And he suggested the current set-up had seen off the threat of a European Super League within hours of it being revealed last summer. “That was dead and buried within 48 hours. It would take 48 days probably to put together the job spec for an independent regulator,” he said.

Instead he called for talks between the Premier League and EFL to work out how to fund the game in the future.

“Let’s get the smartest minds at the Premier League to sit down with people at the EFL and figure out how we smooth that journey,” he said, in an interview with TalkSport.

And he added: “The Premier Legaue has committed £1.6billion, to the government, to pay down the pyramid for the next three years.

“£1.6bn is committed by the Premier League to fund the rest of English football – English football, by the way in case anyone hasn’t noticed has got age groups winning World Cups, has got our first team into a semi-final in the World Cup – so does anyone think there’s a problem there?

“We sat down six months ago and put down a £250m interest free loan facility... did Tesco give the corner shop a £250m loan facility?”

And he stressed he was not looking to stymie any government moves to bring in better football governance, claiming: “I’m not here to block the government, I had a great conversation with Tracey Crouch in the summer.

“But I don’t think the problem lies with the Premier League, but the solution lies in the Premier League.

“Can we work with Tracey to work out the problems, do we need an independent regulator? Probably not.”

Purslow also railed against suggestions the Premier League clubs should be subjected to a suggested 10 per cent levy on transfer fees to support the football pyramid.

He added in another interview with Radio 4’s Today programme: “The Premier League has really always been the source of funding for the rest of football and the danger here is killing the golden goose, if we over-regulate a highly successful financial and commercial operation. I think we have to be very careful as we contemplate reform that it does not ultimately damage the game.

“We already have a hugely successful English football Premier League – the most successful in the world.”

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