Despite being billed “the best league in the world”, the Premier League has sentenced the England team to failure on the international stage. And that's the verdict from none other than the Premier League’s very own Chairman - Sir David Richards!
Despite the efforts Premier League officials like Richard Scudamore to deflect blame for England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008, Richards broke rank at a recent conference in Dubai when he said: "Does the Premier League hurt the national side? I think the answer to that has got to be Yes."
And Richards reckons the Premier League is damaging England’s international prospects by bringing too many “foreign players” and not giving enough first-team opportunities to their Academy graduates!
"It's an astonishing turn of events when the Premier League's chairman admits that his own league is damaging the prospects of the English national team”, said FSF Chairman Malcolm Clarke.
"The FA should have taken a far firmer hand in the formation of the Premier League and we may have avoided the current situation whereby only one in three players in our domestic league are eligible to play for England.
"I’m sure the FA and Fabio Capello will be very interested to learn that the penny has finally dropped with the Chairman of the Premier League on the damaging effect which large numbers of players from overseas can have on the development of our national team."
Current national team manager Capello would doubtless agree with Sir David Richards remarks, as he recently admitted that the relative lack of first team opportunity for many up and coming potential England players is a real problem for him.
While fans with longer memories will also recall that one of the claims made for the Premiership on its formation back in 1992 was that it would actually assist the England team, by reducing the fixture congestion which international managers traditionally blame failure on.
Such claims of course, were made, back then, on the basis of a planned reduction of the number of teams in the top flight to just 18, with further reducing them to 16 also a distinct possibility.
And Richards also hinted that Premier League chiefs still believe reducing the number of teams in the top flight remains the way forward.
“Richards is now talking about reducing the Premier League to 18 teams, even to 16”, Malcolm Clarke said.
“So the discussions which Richards has with the Chairman of , for example, my club Stoke City and others at the lower end of the Premier League food chain, should be very interesting, to say the least!”