As much as us football fans try our best to deny it, the Premier League and other major leagues around Europe have become distinctly money motivated. The foreign ownership has become concerning and the sustainability of our beloved clubs could be under threat.
Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp brought up the issue of foreign ownership this week and he made an alarming statement regarding the next 20 years of the Premier League:
“We’re getting more and more foreign owners into the country now,” Redknapp said. “I don’t know where it’s all going to be in 20 years time but I can see us playing Premier League games all round the world on a regular basis.
“If you’re from China or you’re from India or Russia and you own a club, you’re going to want to take your club back to where you come from. I think it’ll almost be a world Premier League.”
Redknapp is right; a power struggle could well hit our shores over the next decade or so with more and more nationalities investing in the Premier League there is a higher risk that we could be on the move. Ten of the 20 top flight clubs in England are majority owned by a foreign investor and that is set to increase in the future with clubs such as Everton, Wigan and Bolton Wanderers all looking at the prospect of a big money take over.
The possible foreign fixture has been mentioned before but was met with a negative reaction by the majority in English football; hopefully the FA took that as a sign. But it seems that the money could talk and in Redknapp’s opinion, is now the deciding factor in most decisions made in football.
When it was rumoured a few years ago, the main incentive for the FA was that it would promote the Premier League all around the world and television rights would increase with more people in places such as India, USA and Australia taking more of an interest in the English game. However, when you see images of pre-season tours or the World Club Cup around the world, there are thousands of fans wearing Manchester United, Chelsea or Barcelona shirts, obviously showing an understanding of how big the European game is.
So the Premier League does not need much promotion around the world, which is the main non-financial reason to take the likes of Wigan, Bolton and Fulham to India or America so what is the point?
The NFL in the USA has come to London on more than one occasion now and English fans have flocked to Wembley to see the stars, but that is a one of game in each season, not a full fixture list which was initially announced for the Premier League. Not many supporters of English teams would want to see their home game take place in Dhaka or New York so why should we agree to it?
Soccer is becoming more acceptable in America as the likes of David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan have shown that it can be competitive, but surely the Premier League would make it look extremely amateurish? Sending our teams over there or to India or Russia may enhance the interest in our league but could heavily damage the reputation of local teams in comparison and give mildly interested supporters a reality check.
So foreign ownership could become more powerful than first expected in the Premier League and with a group of them already failed in a bid to scrap relegation from the top flight for their clubs it appears that the selfish attitudes of all concerned could be damaging if they gain any more power than they currently have. Something has got to be done to prevent our precious game becoming infested with greedy people who are looking to make a quick buck rather than please the most important people of all – the fans.
Would you want to see your team play abroad or even have a foreign owner – let me know below or on Twitter: @Brad_Pinard
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