City chief admits wealth was the primary factor behind Premier League restart

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 June 2020

Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber believes wealth has been put before health in the push to restart the Premier League. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber believes wealth has been put before health in the push to restart the Premier League. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Stuart Webber has admitted the primary reason the Premier League is set to return is down to money.

City’s sporting director has claimed that it felt like wealth was the driving factor behind the league’s scheduled return later this month, with the clubs forced to make the environment safe around those plans.

The Canaries season will resume on June 19 with a behind closed doors fixture against Southampton, over three months since their last game against Sheffield United in March.

Despite health concerns, Webber admits wealth was behind the decision to return.

“Certainly, the wealth has definitely taken over. I’ve heard ‘health before wealth’, it’s definitely not, it’s the other way round,” he said.

Norwich City's joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones have received criticism from some supporters over a lack of spending. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNorwich City's joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones have received criticism from some supporters over a lack of spending. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

“However, that’s the world we live in and that’s the business that we’re in so what we have to do is, if it is the wealth first, then we’ve got to make it as safe as possible around that.

“I think that we, the other clubs and the Premier League have done that. So, I do think it will be safe to return unless a second pandemic kicks off but let’s go on the positive side of things and say that doesn’t happen. I think it will be safe but there’s been a lot of work for that by a lot of people.”

City’s financial approach has been met with frustration from some supporters - but City’s chief thinks the coronavirus pandemic has exposed how badly some clubs in the football pyramid are being run.

“What’s probably happening at the moment, right underneath our nose and I don’ mean in the Premier League but probably the Football League, is it’s coming home to roost that certain clubs and organisations have been run incredibly badly,” he told Radio Five.

“As soon as the tap’s turned off in terms of income, they get in trouble really quickly. I’ll be gobsmacked if that affects anyone of us (in the Premier League) to that extreme because we’re incredibly fortunate with the levels of TV revenue we get way overpasses anything that we’d get through supporters.

“For us to not have the supporters in is a big hit financially but nowhere near as big as any sort of large TV rebate - the biggest hit with us not having supporters in is, football without the fans, what’s the point?”

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