Strike threat off

Friday 23 November 2001

The threatened strike in English football was today called off after the warring parties thrashed out an agreement which they claimed would prevent a repeat of the bitter dispute that has raged for three months.

The dispute over the share of TV money finally ended today when the Premier League and Football League agreed to pay the Professional Footballers' Association £52.5million over three years - £17.5million a year.

There is also an agreement in place for the PFA to receive a percentage share of future TV deals, with that percentage varying depending on the amount of money involved.

After the war of words throughout, the dispute the chief players were in conciliatory mood following the talks in Manchester which resulted in a long-term deal.

Football Association chief executive Adam Crozier said the deal was "based on a new level of trust and partnership and mutual respect for the players who are at the heart of the game".

And Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore insisted there would be no repeat of the wrangling which threatened to reduce English football to chaos, revealing: "We have put into place agreements that make sure we will not face this situation strike again."

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor, who had defiantly held out for a better deal for his members until today, was conciliatory, saying: "I am delighted to see in the agreement a proper respect for the players' input into the game - and I can assure you that respect will be mutual. We really are a football family.

"I hope there is a new spirit of mutual respect and working together."

The deal means threatened industrial action by players beginning on December 1 has been averted, as well as court action by the Premier League and the Football League against the PFA.

Today's talks at a hotel in Manchester involved Taylor, union officials and legal advisers, and the three chief executives of the football bodies, Scudamore (PL), Crozier (FA) and David Burns (FL).

Matches on the first weekend in December had been targeted for strike action if the footballing bodies did not improve their offer of £50million over three years (£16.7million per annum).