Nottingham Forest owner ignites Premier League row with ‘inappropriate’ claim after charge | Football | Sport

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has slammed Premier League chief executive Richard Masters for ‘careless’ comments he made about ‘small clubs’ at a parliamentary hearing. Masters referred to less wealthy teams as ‘small clubs’ while justifying the Premier League’s profit and sustainability regulations (PSR) to MPs.

Forest and Everton have both been charged by the Premier League for alleged breaches of PSR. The latter club are facing a second assessment by an independent panel this season after being deducted 10 points prior to Christmas.

Manchester City face 115 charges of breaching the top-flight’s financial rules. Asked by members of the culture, media and sport committee two weeks ago whether “big clubs” were treated differently under the rules, Masters responded: “The standard directions [on PSR] are for everybody, they’re not just for the small clubs.”

The comments have not gone down well at clubs outside of the so-called Big Six. In a scathing assessment of Masters’ performance, Marinakis believed he acted inappropriately and was ‘careless’.

“I think that was not appropriate,” Marinakis said when asked about Masters’ comments at a racial and gender equity in European football conference.

“I think it was a bit careless. I think that Nottingham Forest and Everton are very big clubs and maybe are bigger than the ones that we consider today big clubs.”

It comes after the culture, media and sport committee chair, Caroline Dinenage MP, wrote to the Premier League asking Masters to clarify his comments. She raised concerns that categorising clubs according to size could lead to unfair treatment.

“Richard Masters’ implication that nine-times league title winners Everton and double European Cup winners Nottingham Forest are ‘small clubs’ will have raised eyebrows with fans, Dinenage wrote. “To suggest clubs are categorised according to size raises wider questions about whether every member of the league truly does receive treatment that is fair and consistent.”

Marinakis believes the size of a club should be based on how big their crowds are. Forest have the 14th-highest average attendance in the Premier League this season.

“Big team and small teams is maybe not an appropriate expression,” he continued. “It’s a team that has a lot of support or that has achieved a lot of victories or a lot of trophies. But if you analyse it you see who are these teams, these are the teams with the big crowds.

“Rarely is it teams without a solid supporter base who go on to win a trophy. You see the power of your supporters in the ground and even when you don’t play well the support makes you feel stronger. I think this is very important for our sport.”

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