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Opinion

Running a closed shop – No fit and proper Premier League

2 months ago
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Remember the beautiful game, when so called ‘lesser clubs’ could show ambition, by getting at bigger teams, demonstrating that the game we love is decided by passion, desire and commitment to the cause?

Fast forward 28 years, where the Premier League has self-served clubs to monopolise the game we love.

Let’s start with Man Utd, who were allowed to cherry pick players from competitors for years if they showed any potential of posing a risk to their dominance. This doesn’t mean they always signed the players, but they created enough of a stir to ensure the players’ focus was lost, or at least affected.

As years progressed the brand of the Premier League developed immensely, which led to extremely wealthy individuals buying clubs, using their own wealth to ensure they were a competitive force within the league – Chelsea, City and yes – Liverpool (look at the amount of money they have spent over the years]).

As their actions demonstrated, the PL became wary of this, and created a structure to ensure that ‘Elite Clubs’ would always remain a step ahead of the others.

Welcome Financial Fair Play, a strategy ensuring clubs could not significantly out-spend their revenue generated, meaning owners could not directly invest themselves to any major degree to make their team more competitive.

Basically what they are saying here is: “It’s alright that the clubs at the top have already spent (and lost) millions investing in their infrastructure/squad/stadium and worldwide brand – but no one else can now do this.”

This has created a massive divide within the league and no one can deny this.

Man City for example, have a squad which boasts an incredible amount of talent, but they also have quantity in their quality. They could literally field two different teams of 11, both of which would comfortably beat more than 50% of other first teams in the Premier League.

More than just City, just look at the squads of those competing at the top, the difference in quality is astronomical.

Chelsea for example, they have players that would walk into a lot of other PL’s first 11 and they’re either on-loan, or not getting a game.

I completely appreciate that FFP has it’s benefits, and as some people put it: “It stops clubs doing a Leeds”, just one of many examples of bad ownership throughout the years, with owners spending massively outside of their means.

Let’s not forget, Shepherd and Hall allowed our club to reach the brink of financial collapse.

But, if an individual/or consortium is willing (and has sufficient resource) to invest in a club with financial guarantee and security, then why are the Premier League allowed to block their takeover?

Back to the fit and proper part.

A person can be deemed fit and proper if they; employ thousands of people on zero hour contracts, struggle to get a financial professional to audit their books of a multi-million pound business, asset strip a club, only churning profit with bare minimum investment.

On the other hand, a consortium willing to invest in the club infrastructure, squad, and LOCAL COMMUNITY are deemed unfit (or kept hanging until they have no choice but to walk away).

This in itself is ludicrous.

I’ve rambled on and still haven’t reached the initial point of my article – which is that the Premier League themselves are not fit and proper to govern the league.

A direct example – the introduction of VAR this year, a system which is there to ensure there are no clear and obvious errors from officials in games.

Can anyone remember the game where Man City should have had a stonewall penalty, to which they effectively stopped playing, only for Liverpool to go on and score at the other end?

Or more recently, the game with Villa vs Sheff Utd, where there was an error with the goalline technology and VAR did absolutely nothing to intervene.

This cost Bournemouth relegation, as Villa would have been relegated had VAR acted fit and properly to spot the goal and inform the referee (TV cameras spotted it almost instantaneously).

We are left to make our own assumptions toward such a corrupt organisation, an organisation in which ‘our club’ is nothing more than just a number.

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