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Premier League chief Richard Scudamore supports Britain remaining in Europe

Published 20/06/2016

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has pledged his support and the backing of every Premier League club to remaining in Europe
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has pledged his support and the backing of every Premier League club to remaining in Europe

Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore has lent his support to the UK remaining in Europe.

Scudamore said opposition to the European Union would be "incongruous" in the context of the league's commitment to "openness".

But Vote Leave immediately hit back, saying EU rules actually restrict the UK's ability to develop home-grown talent.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Scudamore, who was not speaking on behalf of all 20 clubs in the league, said he was fully aware of the challenges of dealing with the EU.

He said: "Nobody bears the scars more than me of having to go and negotiate in Brussels and try and organise things a little bit in our interests in terms of the European machine."

But he added: "Ultimately you can't break away, you can't just pull out, you have to get in and negotiate and try and organise and try and influence."

Scudamore said the success of the Premier League was based on being open to the world and he criticised the view that Britain could leave the EU to try and "take control of its own destiny".

"That doesn't seem to sit very well when you travel the world like we do being welcomed because of the fact that we are open for business, open for discussion, and open for co-operation," he said.

"There is an openness about the Premier League which I think it would be completely incongruous if we were to take the opposite position."

The league generated £3.3billion of revenue last season, according to a review by Deloitte, and boasts worldwide television contracts worth £8.3bn.

As well as running counter to the ethos of the Premier League, Scudamore said Britain risked losing respect across the globe if it left the EU.

He said: "We would just be, I think, respected less around the world for not wanting to be part of something."

But the Leave camp criticised Mr Scudamore's assessment, saying a leave vote could shore up more funds to be invested in grassroots sports.

Vote Leave's Robert Oxley said: "EU rules hurt both our ability to develop home-grown talent and restrict access to the global talent pool.

"That's the worst of both worlds for football fans and the teams they support. If we take back control, we can spend the £350million we send to Brussels each week on our priorities, like grassroots sport."

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