FRUSTRATED boss Matt Ford revealed how the financial muscle of Polish speedway had been hampering efforts to lure back Pirates’ big-name assets.

Ford delivered an eighth top-flight crown in 16 seasons when Poole secured a memorable play-off final victory at King’s Lynn in October.

Although the Dorset club is up for sale, the Broadstone-based owner remains desperate to rake in more silverware and he possesses arguably the healthiest asset base in the SGB Premiership.

But Ford admits Polish speedway’s financial power and the “almost non-existent” television money available to British clubs from the BT Sport deal means attracting the shale sport’s top stars is far easier said than done.

He told the Daily Echo: “Speedway is run by enthusiasts rather than tremendously wealthy people and, bearing that in mind, at times decisions are made which need to utilise financial restraint.

“As long as I’ve been in the sport, it’s always worked to the lowest common denominator, not the highest, and for many years I banged the drum and said we should try to be at the highest level rather than the lowest level.

“But the television finances are now almost non-existent and that does mean we have to be sensible.

“Many of the riders at the top of the sport are on such huge contracts in Poland. One of the riders in my team last year has a signing-on fee in Poland which is higher than he would earn in England for the whole season.

“That shows what penalties are put on these boys should anything happen to them while riding for other clubs.

“That’s the reason it's not feasible for riders like Maciej Janowski, Leon Madsen and Vaclav Milik – who would be more than happy to ride in the UK – to do so due to the finances involved in Poland.

“I hope the television contract improves significantly from 2020 onwards, when we renegotiate.

“The viewing figures are quite incredible. They have increased by 41 per cent on the year and I feel we are now in a much stronger position to negotiate a more realistic contract.”

Meanwhile, Ford praised Keith ‘Buster’ Chapman’s decision to take charge of Peterborough and Ipswich and bring them up to the top flight for 2019.

Chapman, the chairman of the British Speedway Promoters’ Association, now owns three of the seven clubs in the Premiership, having long been at the helm of King’s Lynn.

“Buster has taken on another couple of tracks and of course that brings its own headaches but I wish him well,” said Ford.

“We will see how the sport evolves and copes with an owner having three clubs in a league.

“It’s a very brave move by him but he has done it to stabilise the sport and to keep a top level.

“In bringing two big clubs up in Peterborough and Ipswich, I feel that’s a huge benefit to the Premiership.”