Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed today blasted the Premier League for “selling the clubs short” in their commercial negotiations – despite being on the brink of receiving an unprecedented windfall.
The Premier League has sold its media rights for an astonishing £2.1billion and the deal kicks in next season.
It means even the bottom side in the Barclays Premiership will earn around £30million next season, the equivalent to the prize money awarded this year to champions Manchester United.
The earnings gap between English top-flight clubs and their rivals in Spain, Italy and Germany is growing year on year.
But Al Fayed, who claims to have invested £250million into Fulham, is still not happy – and he fails to understand why so many overseas investors are interested in English clubs.
“Most of the clubs are living on the edge,” he said.
“I can’t understand what the rush is for all those people buying football clubs.
“Up until now every month I have to open my pocket and give a million or two million pounds. It is living on the edge.
“I am a chairman. I know the money I have to put in to keep the club surviving, with all the problems you face with the huge wages of players.
“If you want to win you have to pay up to £100,000 a week. It is crazy. Imagine a player who can hardly read and write – he can earn four to five million pounds!
“The Premier League think they can give the clubs £25million. It is stupid.
“The Premier League are selling the most important game on earth, the most popular game on earth. Everyone wants to watch Premier League football, but the Premier League management are selling us short.
“The Premier League have to understand that we are delivering the game and this costs a hell of a lot of money and we cannot give it away.
“What the Premier League is getting is peanuts.”
Al Fayed is no great fan of those in charge of the Premier League and recently called for the resignations of chief executive Richard Scudamore and chairman Sir Dave Richards over the Carlos Tevez affair.
Fulham backed Sheffield United’s request for the Premier League to hold an arbitration hearing after West Ham escaped a points deduction despite breaking league regulations regarding the signings of Tevez and Javier Mascherano.
And Al Fayed vowed to take the matter to the courts if the arbitration hearing, scheduled to start on June 18, does not find in Sheffield United’s favour.
“If any club brings in players without approval, how can they just want to fine them because it affects other clubs,” Al Fayed told Sportsweek on Radio Five Live.
“We are going to arbitration to teach them a lesson. Why do they make favours?
“If the arbitration is fair and people who know about law and about justice, we are on the right side.
“If arbitration fails we go to court. I am a man of principle. I just don’t let people get away with unfair and unjust practices, especially the Premier League.”
Al Fayed was one of the original billionaire investors and his money helped propel Fulham into the Premiership.
He has since been followed by Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, the Glazer family at Manchester United, Randy Lerner at Aston Villa, George Gillet and Tom Hicks at Liverpool and the consortium led by Eggert Magnusson at West Ham.
Newcastle are next on the hit list, with sports retail businessman Michel Ashley hoping to complete his takeover by the end of June.
Al Fayed revealed he has had “one or two approaches” for Fulham but insisted the club is not for sale – unless he receives the perfect offer.