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Labour vows to ‘get tough’ on Premier League media income levy

Leading MPs for the opposition Labour party in the UK parliament have vowed to implement a “proper levy” on the sale of domestic media rights for football’s English Premier League.

The money raised, in conjunction with a proposed new levy on sports betting, would be used to fund grassroots sport and tackle problem gambling, according to the ‘Sport for all’ consultation document presented by shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman and shadow sports minister Clive Efford today (Thursday).

“Our consultation looks at a number of ideas which aim to boost investment in community and grassroots sports by getting tough with the Premier League and betting companies, bringing back two hours of sport at schools a week and encouraging more people to take part – girls as well as boys,” Harman said.

Efford added to the Guardian newspaper: “The Premier League… needs to be forced to return to its previous obligation to ensure that a five-per-cent voluntary levy of its income from domestic TV rights are ploughed back into grassroots sport.”

That pledge was made after a report by the Football Task Force in the UK back in 1999, the report added. Efford said that although domestic rights income for the Premier League had rocketed in recent years, much of the money has been ploughed into ‘parachute payments’ for clubs relegated from the top division, and lower-tier Football League clubs.

A spokesman for the Conservative party, which is the majority party in the coalition government, said: “This is yet another short-term gimmick from Labour. It is a tax on football fans which will mean higher ticket prices for ordinary people wanting to watch our national sport.”