Graham O'Hare and Sir Robert meet with Preston North End's Chief Executive

Graham O'Hare (Conservative Candidate in the Preston By-Election) accompanied by North West MEP Sir Robert Atkins, met Tony Scholes, Chief Executive of Preston North End Football Club today to discuss the threat from the EC to the Transfer Fee System in British Football.

"Only the Conservatives are battling in Europe to defend our national winter game", commented the Tory candidate, who used to work for the Club as a teenager, selling scratch cards, "and Sir Robert, a former Sports Minister, has been leading the charge since September, as opposed to local Labour spokesmen who have just jumped on a bandwagon during the By-Election."

"Tony Blair says he is "leading the fight" to protect football from the European Commission's plans to outlaw soccer transfer fees, but his Sports Spokesman in the European Parliament, Mo O'Toole, has announced that she fully supports the Commission's "status and actions" on the matter."

"This goes to show how two-faced and untrustworthy the Labour Party is. If Labour really supported football, they would be culling proposals from the Commission and they would be vetoing any proposal to include sport in the Treaties." "This is another case of Labour saying one thing at home and another in Europe."

Mr. O'Hare said he supported the Football Association Premier League and the Football League, which want to keep the existing transfer system. "It is none of the European Commission's business to say that our transfer system breaches the Treaty of Rome. The system works and is essential for maintenance of professional football in Preston and the UK."

Tony Scholes confirmed to Graham O'Hare and Sir Robert Atkins MEP that there were three reasons for Preston North End's concern about the EC proposals:-

1. The Transfer system is a fundamental and fascinating part of the game's attraction.

2. Many Clubs in the lower divisions are wholly dependent on the financial gains from spotting, training, developing and selling on young players into the top clubs.

3. Fans will suffer, as will the game, if players come and go at the drop of a hat and continuity and team spirit are lost.

The Preston North End Chief Executive urged Graham O'Hare and Sir Robert Atkins to keep up the fight for the future of British Football!

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