Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Soccer 'Peace Deal'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Soccer 'Peace Deal'

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID BOND

A DEAL to avert a strike by professional football players will be sealed by tonight, it was claimed today.

An agreement appears to have been struck between the game's ruling bodies and the Professional Footballers' Association.

The PFA, the players' union, had called a strike of its 3,500 members from next Saturday in a dispute over the amount of TV money coming into the game.

Footballers, many of them multimillionaires, had threatened to refuse to play in any stadium which had TV cameras - meaning every league game would have been called off.

Following emergency talks at a hotel in Manchester this morning, the PFA called a press conference where it is expected to announce that the two sides have settled their row.

It is thought that the finer points of the deal are still to be agreed but PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor is understood to have softened his demand for five per cent of the clubs' combined [pound] 600million a year TV revenue.

Mr Taylor's deputy Brendan Batson said: "We are very, very hopeful that a deal can be done."

Premier League spokesman Phil French added: "We have made considerable progress this morning and we are optimistic." The leagues originally offered about [pound]10million a year to the union - well short of the [pound]36million annual payment the PFA was seeking to fund its education and medical programmes it runs for players. The latest offer on the table was worth [pound]16.7million a year.

There is still confusion, though, with the Premier League and Football League insisting that no agreement had yet been signed. The talks, which started at 10am, had only been going for one hour when news of the settlement began to filter through.

The PFA change of tack comes amid reports that senior players are increasingly questioning the need for strike action. …

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