Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Scudamore rejects England theory

Richard Scudamore says the Premier League is not to blame for England's failings

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has told the Football Association to look at itself before blaming him for England's problems.

England boss Roy Hodgson was furious when he discovered Manchester United's trip to Liverpool and the first north London derby of the season had been scheduled for the weekend before the key World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine, which take place at the beginning of September.

Perceived Premier League intransigence on the matter was thrown in with the diminishing number of English players in the top flight as evidence Scudamore and his top clubs do not care about the national side.

It is an argument Scudamore rejects, claiming the FA finds it too easy to blame others for England's failings rather than looking at itself.

"It seems to me that if England don't win something it is someone else's fault," said Scudamore.

"I have never, in my 15 years with the Premier League, said the competition's success, or lack of, is someone else's fault.

"We have not won the World Cup since 1966. The Premier League didn't start until 1992. What happened between 1966 and 1992? Whose fault was that?

"Let's run the reverse argument.

"Where does that leave the people at the FA in terms of their accountability?

"It frustrates me enormously because it is so palpably not true. It cannot be our fault on any level."

Whilst Scudamore has presided over the securing of astonishing TV revenue of £5.5billion for the three seasons that begin with the new campaign starting next month, the number of home-grown talents within England's top flight has continued to dwindle at an alarming rate.

Only around 30% of Premier League players are English, a far lower home-developed percentage than other major European footballing nations, meaning Three Lions boss Hodgson has a thankless task trying to guide his team to the biggest tournaments.

But Scudamore is sick of being told the elite 20 clubs are responsible for England's demise.

"It is not the Premier League who ripped up the playing fields or didn't put money into schools," he said.

"It is not my fault fewer young kids are kicking a ball around or that the country is not safe enough for seven, eight, nine year olds to go down to the park on their own as I did and play football until after dark.

"We are putting on a competition the best players in the world want to play in. The population of England is only 60million and there are 212 countries playing this game.

"We can put out a good team, just like Andy Murray can win Wimbledon and Justin Rose can win the US Open.

"Good things do happen but they are not an automatic right. The idea an England team is going to be put together that will somehow beat the world is logically and mathematically implausible."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre