More support

Wednesday 7 November 2001

Fulham Chairman Mohammed Al Fayed has criticised the Government for not doing more to support the development of young footballers in the lower leagues.

The Harrods owner has bankrolled manager Jean Tigana's assault on the Premiership.

But he told BBC Five Live that he would like to see politicians put money into the game in the lower divisions.

The Fulham Chairman argued that, with no backing for youth academies at that level and with many clubs close to bankruptcy, there was a shortage of young domestic talent

"A lot of talented players do not have the chance because there are not the facilities," said Al Fayed.

"Unfortunately the Government do not support things like that.

"We have a youth academy at Fulham and I am very proud of that."

Al Fayed added that Tigana had his full backing for the signing of players such as the £11.5m Steve Marlet, but insisted there was no transfer fund at the club.

"Tigana has proved himself at Monaco. I will just leave it as it is, I do not plan anything. There is no budget."

Al Fayed has set his sights on Fulham emulating Manchester United, by winning the Premiership and the Champions League.

"It's a possibility. I am optimistic and I am sure Tigana will deliver. I will leave it to God."

Born in Alexandria, Al Fayed said that he had been a Fulham fan since the age of 14.

"London was my favourite city and Fulham was my favourite club in London."