Premier League to write to Accrington Stanley chairman after criticism

Wham Stadium
Accrington Stanley were promoted to the Football League in 2006

Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt has criticised Premier League clubs over the amount of money they spend - prompting a robust response.

Holt told BBC Radio Lancashire the Premier League's actions filter down to adversely affect clubs in the Football League, which he said was "like a starving peasant begging for scraps".

The Premier League responded: "We will be writing to Mr Holt to ask him if he wishes the Premier League to continue the support we currently provide for his and other clubs in the EFL."

Holt then posted on Twitter on Wednesday: "WOW! After all the trouble we have gone to in rescuing @ASFCofficial is the @premierleague really threatening to close us down?"

He had earlier posted a series of messages on Twitter after the Daily Mail revealed reported figures of wages and agent fees paid by Manchester United.

In them, he accused the Premier League of "destroying" the game.

Accrington finished 13th in League Two this season with an average gate of 1,699 - the smallest in the Football League.

Holt told BBC Radio Lancashire the club usually has an annual turnover of about £2.2m and would expect losses of about £500,000 most seasons, but that should be less for 2016-17 because of their cup runs.

"It is all very well for the Premier League to take an isolated view that what they're doing doesn't affect anybody else, but my argument is that it does," he added.

"When you do things for the game, you've got to look at the entire game - you can't just deal with them in isolation.

"They generate all the cash and they need get some of it spread about."

The Premier League statement added: "The Premier League supports all clubs in the EFL with solidarity payments and provides significant funding for their community projects and youth development schemes - all things that Accrington Stanley benefit from.

"It is only because of the interest in our competition and in Premier League clubs that we can support Accrington, the wider football pyramid, and communities and schools across the country."

In a further response on Wednesday, Holt said he classed the Premier League statement as a "threat too far" and they could "please themselves with their funds", although he said he was not speaking "for the EFL" or members clubs.

Analysis

BBC sports editor Dan Roan

Ever since the Premier League broke away 25 years ago, there has been intense debate about how much it should redistribute; to the grassroots, to fans via cheaper tickets, to community projects, and also to lower-league clubs.

Buoyed by their latest record-breaking £8bn broadcast deal, Premier League clubs will pay Football League teams the following in 'solidarity payments' this year; £4.3m to each Championship side, and £650,000 and £430,000 respectively to clubs in League One and Two.

These payments have risen, and are now linked to TV income. But given the financial challenges and debts many Football League clubs face, and the vast sums their Premier League counterparts give to players and agents, some believe they should be more generous.

Mr Holt has effectively 'bitten the hand that feeds' his club, hence the Premier League's thinly-veiled threat to withdraw funding.

But supporters of the Accrington chairman will view such a warning as unnecessarily aggressive towards an administrator raising valid concerns about excessive agent fees.

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