Richard Scudamore has insisted that England's miserable performances at youth level this summer are not a consequence of the top flight's success. The Premier League chief executive, speaking on Tuesday as Sport England and the league announced a partnership worth £16.8m, said the strength of the league should benefit English youngsters during their development.
England Under-21s lost every match at the European Championship in Israel before the Under-20s were held by Iraq and Chile and defeated by Egypt to exit their World Cup last weekend. Earlier this year the Under-17s failed to qualify for the European Championship.
"That's not our responsibility," Scudamore said. "Our responsibility is to make sure the youth development systems in this country are as good as they can be.
"There were 210 players qualified to play for England playing in the Premier League last year. We ought to be able to find 11 to take the field to do well. Those players are playing week in, week out against the world's best talent. There are other factors at play, which are not our responsibility.
"We're starting to see more English-qualified people coming through the academies, we're starting to see more take part in first teams. Last season more English players were being registered. That's a tide that's turning and, therefore, our youth development systems are beginning to work even better. Our responsibility ends once those players go off and are selected."
Roy Hodgson, the England manager, was frustrated when the Premier League fixture list came out last month as a request to play no high-profile matches before his team's World Cup qualification double-header in September was ignored.
England play Moldova at Wembley on Friday 6 September before travelling to Kiev the following Tuesday to play Ukraine. The Premier League has opted to stage Liverpool v Manchester United and Arsenal v Tottenham the weekend before, with at least one of those games expected to be moved to the Sunday for TV coverage.
"I haven't spoken to Mr Hodgson," Scudamore said. "At the end of the day the fixture list is a hugely complex affair. But we do fully respect the call-up periods."
The Premier League and Sport England partnership is aimed at increasing sports participation for young people over three years. Two community programmes, Premier League 4 Sport and Kickz, will receive significant funding, creating 270 new sports clubs and targeting 30,000 youngsters in underprivileged areas.
"There is no other company in this country that gives away more than we give away," Scudamore said. "We will give away next year more than £260m."
The former England left-back Graeme Le Saux, who praised the Premier League's financial backing for community sports, believes a lot needs to be done to improve on a "disappointing" summer for the international youth sides.
"There's got to be pride," he said. "I never felt more proud than playing for the Under-21s because that was the best level I'd got to.
"Their weekly salary will probably be more than what they get to play for England Under-21s but the significance of playing for your country is so important. We've got to reconnect that.
"It's also important that the players respect the competitions and that they value the international competitions that they play in. We need to create that through the FA."