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Opinion

Premier League yet again consider playing matches abroad to help ‘grow the competition’

3 weeks ago
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The Premier League will never surprise you.

That is, in terms of the lengths they will go to when it comes to making money.

It shouldn’t exactly be a surprise though, when you consider that the massive driving force three decades ago for the introduction of the Premier League era…was making more money.

The belief that an elite Premier League model could successfully generate loads more cash, especially for clubs at the top end, from both the UK market, as well as from…overseas.

Really interesting to see The Athletic reveal on Monday morning that the driving forces behind / inside the Premier League are yet again now debating how to get ‘meaningful’ matches involving Premier League clubs, played overseas.

However, it is otherwise dressed up, ‘meaningful’ matches involving Premier League clubs is 100% all about, eventually seeing actual regular Premier League games played in other countries.

Those behind the push for this will always claim it is for the growth of the game / competition, whereas in reality is is ALWAYS just about making more money.

The Athletic report that in June 2021, the AGM saw club owners / representatives discussing how they could be ‘taking Premier League matches to the World’…

They report that this has then been followed up with further discussions at a meeting of the 20 Premier League clubs last week, with the USA, China, India, Brazil and Indonesia in particular identified as places where they can increase the ‘appeal to new fans.’

The Athletic saying that a big part of this debate included a possible “roadmap for meaningful matches abroad,” which is yet again simply how do we (they!) get to a position where they can at last manage to overcome fan opposition to playing regular Premier League matches in other countries.

Back in 2008, the Premier League wanted to play an extra round of matches, making it 39 games to a season, with those ten extra games to be played in other countries, with the potential at the time for all 20 clubs to bank and extra £5m each. A massive backlash from football fans (in England) ensured this plan was swiftly dropped (or in reality, quietly hidden away to be at some point pushed once again).

If they reckoned in 2008 it would be worth £100m to the 20 clubs to play an extra 10 Premier League regular matches overseas, exactly how much would it be worth now?

The thing is, people aren’t stupid. Football fans know that once even a single Premier League match is allowed to be played overseas, it will be the very thin end of the wedge. The Premier League main drivers will be relentless in getting ever more and more numbers of PL games played in these other countries.

With the Premier League, you always are reminded of what Oscar Wilde said about knowing ‘The price of everything and the value of nothing’…

I think that if they ever did succeed in getting Premier League matches played overseas, even when it comes to generating money, it would be a case of short-term gains but long-term disaster.

However, the vast majority of Premier League owners don’t care a less about the game, the competition, the future, their own clubs even, when it comes to the future. It is all about how much money you can make now.

The novelty would be there at first for fans of Premier League clubs who would suddenly see their own countries hosting regular PL matches. Loads of money would be made (by the club owners).

However, my belief is that by moving games overseas you would be killing the golden goose. Do Man Utd and Liverpool fans in China, really want to see their clubs playing Premier League games in India?

The Premier League has attracted such a worldwide following because of the whole culture and full package it offers, with tradition, the fans at PL games and so on.

Overseas Liverpool fans want to watch their team on TV at Anfield, overseas Man Utd fans Old Trafford and so on, not at random stadiums around the world in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, or wherever.

There are people (the fans) who care about the game and there are those (the owners) who are only motivated by personal gain.

They (the club owners) will never stop trying to push for change, with no limits to their lies of claiming it is ‘progress’ when it is the exact opposite in reality for football.

That is why in only the past year we saw moves by the Premier League ‘big six’ to award themselves new rules where they could outvote the other 14 clubs at any time in the future, which was then followed by the same ‘big six’ involved in trying to establish a European Super League where they would be guaranteed to get an even bigger share of the money and power, plus those self-appointed elite not even having to qualify for the elite European competition.

We have to be always on our guard because one thing for sure, they will never give up trying to ruin football in order to have more money and power / prestige.

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