Premier League Looks To Invest In Youth Sport In Local Communities
The Premier League "put a fraction of its riches into a scheme to support youth sport" on Tuesday, seeking to "underline a commitment to local communities its clubs are accused of taking for granted," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. CEO Richard Scudamore "defended the 20-club League against accusations it was not doing enough" to support teams lower down the football pyramid and grassroots sport. As part of efforts to stay in touch with local communities, the Premier League "has teamed up with government-backed Sport England" in a £17M ($26M) scheme "to encourage young people to take up a variety of sports." Scudamore "bridled at suggestions that such funding was small change for the Premier League," where players can earn up to £200,000 ($303,000) a week. Scudamore: "There is no other company in this country that gives away more than we give away. We will give away next year more than £260 million. We will give away 50 million just in raw charitable causes." Some fans argue that the TV windfall "should be used to subsidise cheaper tickets to prevent less affluent fans being priced out of going to matches." Scudamore said that it was "up to clubs to set their own prices but added they should maintain strong local ties to complement their global ambitions." Scudamore said, "It means making sure that the local people that live and breathe and work around the clubs are able to go and watch those teams, not every week perhaps, but certainly on an occasional basis" (REUTERS, 7/2).