Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt stands by Premier League criticism

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Stanley chairman on 'obscene' Pogba fees and the Premier League

Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt has refused to back down despite what he considers a threat from the Premier League after his criticism of spending.

Holt had said Football League clubs were like "a starving peasant begging for scraps" from the top flight.

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 said other chairmen supported him.

Why was Holt upset?

On Tuesday, Holt accused the Premier League of "destroying" the game and tweeted: "Hang your heads in shame. @premierleague you're an absolute disgrace to English football."

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

A book published in Germany this week - The Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football - includes what it says is a breakdown of the fee for Paul Pogba's move to United last summer, and alleges his agent Mino Raiola earned £41m from the deal.

Raiola has declined to comment and said the matter was in the hands of his lawyers.

In an interview with BBC Sport on Wednesday, Holt said lower-league clubs needed more financial help.

"Football is in crisis. The lower league is really struggling, and I'm not the only chairman who feels like this," he said.

He accused the Premier League of "losing all sense of scale" in what he called a "threatening, dark" response to his original comments.

"What they're saying is not only are they not bothered about it, anybody who complains about it, we'll take your money away and shut you down," he said.

"Other EFL clubs share my views, not all of them. I'm not trying to lead a rabble, I'm expressing an opinion but I'm not alone."

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

What does the Premier League provide?

The Premier League says it intends to write to Holt and "to explain the many ways it has supported Accrington Stanley FC and all EFL clubs this season".

Holt said the club had an annual turnover of about £2.2m and any withdrawal of Premier League funding would threaten its future.

"They can do what they want," he added. "It would be a quarter of our revenue, and it would close Accrington down.

"I can't do anything about it. I don't like the agent's fee, I don't like the largesse of the Premier League and I won't like it in five years' time and I won't like it in 10 years' time. My opinion's the same, whatever they do."

The Premier League has provided £200m in "solidarity funding" to EFL clubs this season. Additional parachute payments to relegated clubs take its contribution to more than £400m.

It is understood the Premier League made a £430,000 payment to Accrington this season, in addition to a £340,000 grant towards its youth development programme

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

"I accept they do a bit for the community," said Holt. "I don't really have a problem with the Premier League, I have a problem with it being unsustainable."

Any other reaction?

Holt's views were supported by Darragh MacAnthony, chairman of League One side Peterborough United, who tweeted: "Andy is 100% correct in his comments & 99% of Football League owners would agree I'd think."

MacAnthony later told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: "Andy has gone to the extreme; I'm not disagreeing with what he's saying. He's a frustrated man. I wouldn't have said starving peasant, I would compare it to being like a family member.

"We're meant to all be part of one family, the Premier League and the Football League. It's a bit like the poor member of the family that every time they go for a handout they're made to feel guilty instead of being family where they help you out."

The Premier League has previously said it is the only top-flight league in world football which funds the fourth tier of its football pyramid.

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