Luton CEO calls on the Premier League to help out once more

Hatters chief executive Gary SweetHatters chief executive Gary Sweet
Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet | jpimedia
Town chief wants to see top flight clubs do their bit

Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet has once more called on the Premier League to help out sides lower down the footballing pyramid for their own good during the coronavirus pandemic.

With the league season currently suspended indefinitely and clubs starved of any income, it led Chair of the Commons Select Committee, Damian Collins MP, calling for help from the government yesterday to prevent what he feels could be between five and 10 teams filing for administration.

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Sweet was also worried that would be the case the longer that football is placed on hold, but believes the top flight clubs could be doing more to help out those less fortunate than themselves.

He said: “Yes, I believe they should be.

“That isn’t for me to negotiate, that isn’t for me to even put myself on a pedestal or a high horse to say that they’re doing wrong, this is their (Premier League) decision.

“It might be for the Football League to ask, politely, and it’s their decision to decide if we need help, but if they need a message from a football club, we need the help, we absolutely need the help.

“And if football doesn’t return until January next year, there’ll be fewer clubs that will need help at that point.

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"Football is a society. It’s a social, cultural product that exists within this country with its pyramid, which stems from community, tribal, combative competition between our villages, towns and cities.

"The Premier League and clubs at the top of the Premier League cannot survive if they don’t have clubs below them.

“Unless that money is redistributed and rethought of, they may find out if they need to survive without clubs below the Premier League, that’s the real truth of it here.

“Unless that distribution is rethought and restructured to help clubs further down the line, they won’t have clubs below to feed them with academy players, to feed them with professionals having gone through the academy system at more local clubs, to provide that talent that they rely on.

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"It’s really quite as simple as that. If you cut the roots of the tree off, the tree dies.”

Although he felt football as an industry could have behaved better during the crisis, Sweet insisted leaning on the unity that exists between clubs and leagues is the only way to get through such unprecedented and testing times.

He added: "I think it’s such a difficult environment at the moment.

"I’ve got kids and I look at them going back to school and I read what the teachers’ union are saying, I don't think any industry or government is coming out of this in a positive light. Who is, frankly?

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“So, I think it's really hard to look at football as an industry and say it's not behaving in the most respectful way.

"That's probably true. It could be behaving better, but actually, there are lots of examples of how football is needed and how football is behaving well.

“I think there is a lot of unity within the game that doesn't get spoken off.

“There's obviously a lot of people who are acting in self-interest, but let's try and believe in the unity at the moment, but that’s the only thing that's going to help us survive.

“The communal aspects of clubs coming together and acting in unison is the only way that we're going to get through this, clubs and leagues.”

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