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News Item Date: 02/10/2020

Television Monies Dispute

The PFA is grateful for the overwhelming support which it is receiving from the football fans both here and abroad. There are however some people who seem to think that this dispute is about getting more for rich players. It is not. The PFA provides help for current and former players who for one reason or another are in difficulties; it provides education and training for young hopeful players and for older ones at the end of their careers who need to start a new job. It provides benevolent and medical care for the players of years gone by who are in difficult financial circumstances or need operations such as new hips and new knees.

This is not about providing more money to wealthy players. Cash is not distributed to footballers out of the PFA share of television income.

When matches were first televised in the mid 50's negotiation took place to provide a share of television income to the PFA and this has been supported by players ever since. There are no individual payments to players for the televising of games, nor any royalties when they are shown and re-shown across the world. The TV companies pay the most money for Premier League matches and it is therefore the Premier League players who give up the most to support those less fortunate than themselves.

The PFA uses most of its TV income through its Benevolent Fund and Educational Fund, both of which are registered charities, and its Accident Fund which is a provident fund. No one makes a profit. No one gets a dividend. The PFA is not like football clubs who have shareholders and want a return on their money. It is all about the provision of help for those who need help and a whole range of social welfare benefits which in most walks of life would be provided by employers. The following is a selection of areas within which money is spent:-

  • benevolent grants to former players who have never benefited from big wages and are in severe financial difficulties;

  • medical treatment for former players who are now suffering greatly from such things as old injuries and incorrect use of cortisone;

  • funding of places at rehabilitation centres for players and former players suffering from injuries;

  • education and training as part of a programme for school boys coming into football, young hopefuls who play for a few years but never make it and older players in the lower leagues who earn modest wages and are having to retrain for other work as they leave football;

  • a community programme associated with virtually every professional club which helps under privileged inner city children and provides something like 500 full time and 2000 part time jobs largely for former players;

  • an anti racism programme;

  • a drug awareness programme;

  • medical research beneficial to sportsmen and sportswomen.

The list is endless. These benefits are all achieved because players give up any individual rights in exchange for a payment to the PFA. We do not expect money if it is not there. We look to simply get a percentage of the television income which the Premier League and the Football League receive. Traditionally this has been between 5% and 10% of their income. We are now being offered 1% and are being told that we do not even have an entitlement to that. The rich and powerful clubs want to weaken the Union. They want us to go with a begging bowl. There are of course clubs in the lower leagues who struggle by from month to month who appreciate only too well the work of the PFA and the direct and indirect help that we give to those clubs and their players in difficult times.

This is about the rich giving to the poor. The wealthy players are very happy to give their support for the benefit of their less fortunate colleagues and of former players in need. That is what we are fighting for.

Supplied by the PFA