Belfast Telegraph

Premier League has helped game - Parry

English football is better off for the formation and growth of the Premier League, according to former chief executive Rick Parry.

The 58-year-old has no doubt there are key areas of concern in the modern game in England, such as the proportion of foreign players and the number of clubs owned by overseas investors.

But while Parry feels these are issues on which the Football Association, which he sees as "not fit for purpose", has been "entirely passive", he has pointed to the success over recent years of English sides in Europe as evidence that the Premier League has been a "force for good".

Speaking at the University of Salford on Thursday, Parry - who was the Premier League's first chief executive when it was launched in 1992, and later held the same post at Liverpool - said: "I think by and large it is a force for good. We had not the faintest idea at the time (of its' foundation) that it would grow in the way that it has.

"I believed that it was going to be successful - we knew the formula would work and that it was effective, whereas the FA and the Football League weren't. One of the things - until this year, which is a shame - that has been good to see is our clubs by and large doing well in Europe.

"Whether this season (in which no English club has reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League) is an aberration or more permanent we will see - it is certainly alarming. But over the last decade or so we have done well in the Champions League.

"There are negatives and there are concerns. For me, once you get above 50% foreign players, there should be an alarm bell, and certainly once you get up to 50% of the clubs being in foreign ownership, that is an alarm bell, and again that is something we would never have envisaged.

"But I actually think rather than blaming the Premier League for that... the sad thing is that when we formed the Premier League, we had had all sorts of dialogue about reforming the FA, but the FA actually did not change at all and I think what happened was the FA just got completely left behind.

"The FA is not fit for purpose. The Premier League has raced ahead and succeeded, and in areas where you might expect the governing body to take a lead - where it does in other countries, on things like the number of foreign players and foreign ownership - the FA has basically been entirely passive."

He added: "I think if the Premier League had not been formed, the game overall would be in a worse state."


From Belfast Telegraph