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Crystal Palace co-owner slams Premier League spending rules: ‘Nobody thinks it makes sense’

John Textor, Chairman of Eagle Football Holdings, speaks during the FT Business of Football Summit in London, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
John Textor: 'We have three billionaires our ownership group but can't match the top six for spending' - AP Photo/Kin Cheung

John Textor, the Crystal Palace co-owner, has attacked the Premier League’s spending rules for stopping smaller clubs closing the gap on bigger rivals.

The current model on financial sustainability is designed to stop clubs with ambition challenging the so-called Big Six, said Textor, who also owns Lyon.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a billion dollars of cash in a wheelbarrow, you’re not allowed to spend it,” said Textor after Telegraph Sport reported on Monday how other top-tier clubs were also in favour of relaxing rules.

The American, who also owns clubs in Brazil, Belgium and the United States, was addressing reporters after 20 top-flight clubs met separately at a nearby London hotel to discuss potential reforms to profit and sustainability rules [PSR].

Textor, who had earlier appeared at the FT Business of Football Summit, took issue with recent punishments handed out to clubs. Everton have had six points docked, reduced from 10 after an appeal. The club is now set for a hearing in relation to new charges, while Nottingham Forest are also the subject of a PSR complaint. “It’s clear that (the rules are) built to make sure that clubs which do not drive significant revenues cannot catch up,” said Textor.

Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, he said, “has plenty of money to fund his team but he’s not allowed to”. “If he spends too much and does what the fans want, somebody comes along and docks him points? That’s not right.”

As it stands, the PSRs do not permit clubs to exceed losses of £105 million over three seasons. “Financial fair play is a fraud of a term, to say it’s about sustainability,” Textor said.

“Sustainability should be about the quality of your balance sheet, not ratios against your P&L [profit and loss]. There’s nobody that actually thinks that makes sense.

“We have got three billionaires in our ownership group (at Palace), maybe more. We’re not allowed to spend at the level of teams that are in the top six.”

Palace shareholder and general partner Josh Harris, Textor added, “has no trouble with money, he just bought an NFL team [the Washington Commanders], he owns the [NBA franchise the Philadelphia] 76ers.

“But (Palace chairman) Steve (Parish) is not allowed to go out and spend that kind of money, he gets docked points and sent to the second division,” Textor added.

The Premier League has been discussing reform for months but the topic was on the agenda again for clubs on Thursday alongside pyramid support package talks.

The aim is that both topics will be resolved by the end of a second meeting scheduled for March 11. Until now, a multi-layered system, which will account for Uefa’s more strict system of squad costs, has been seen as the most likely replacement financial control system to replace the current £105 million limit in losses over three seasons.

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