Thom Malone
Thom Malone

16.01 3 May 2020


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Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parish has backed the Premier League's 'Project Restart' campaign in a column in today's Sunday Times.

Parish laid out the reasons why he is supporting the Premier League campaign to get football going again and finish the current season.

Football is, according to Parish, "just another industry trying to get back to work."

The Palace chairman spoke about the duties he feels he has, and football has, in the wider community:

"I hope Crystal Palace, during this crisis, have acted in a way that acknowledges the important role we have in the community and I would stress that, first and foremost, football has an absolute duty to society.

"No sacrifice our game is making can come close to those being made by people on the front line. If we can do anything to help the NHS reduce fatalities or even make one person’s life easier, then it is, of course, the No 1 priority.

"But after that, I also have a duty to my club, staff, and the wider sport. It helps no one if we — or any other industry — come out the other side in a worse state than we otherwise could have."

Funds the whole football pyramid

Parish acknowledged there are still many hurdles for the project to clear:

"Hence Project Restart. Of course, there are many barriers. We know we cannot have spectators at matches. Given we cannot leave our houses at the moment, we know things out of our control must change before the Premier League can consider finishing 2019-20 or starting next season on time."

In the piece, Parish outlined the level of contribution football makes from a taxation perspective:

"Football is one of the most efficient tax-generating industries in Britain: we pay the players a lot but 50 percent goes straight back into the public purse.

"Overall we pay about £3.3 billion in tax every year and it is the Premier League that largely funds the whole football pyramid.

"What’s more, if the nation decides that the gravity of events dictates that it’s simply not appropriate to play, then we must and will respect that.

"Of all the objections raised this is the only one that seems, to me, potentially insurmountable and I would respond to it with the following observations."

Safe and controlled manner

The Crystal Palace chairman says football, as an industry, wants to get back to work:

"Football is just another industry trying to get back to work. It doesn’t have any more right to do so than construction or retail but nor does it have any less.

"Neutral grounds, dressing-room distancing, no fans: however we do it, and whenever we do it, football cannot return the same.

"So lets at least contemplate whether it’s possible. As Javier Tebas, (the La Liga president) observed: “If important economic sectors cannot restart, in a safe and controlled manner, they could end up disappearing. That could happen to professional football.”


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