Here we go again. One of the most ridiculous proposals in recent years has again been re-addressed by new Liverpool co-owner, Tom Werner. When Richard Scudamore proposed the idea of the 39th game or the international round he was ridiculed by supporters groups, clubs and even Fifa President Sepp Blatter. The idea to host a game outside of England has been met with contempt and was banished to the scrap books. Why on earth has it been raised again. Revenue over fans? That figures.
The American, who purchased Liverpool alongside John W. Henry last month, has expressed his belief that the idea could still take off – in an interview with Sky Sports.
”Absolutely. I think that first of all the EPL is the strongest league in the world and its reach is global.”
“It’s been very impressive to me the number of people globally who watch the EPL and we hope to expand that imprint.
“I think that the more important the game the more excitement. Friendlies are great, but why not have an actual match in season.”
This idea is a dangerous policy – that money men love and fans despise. Even the worlds governing bodies have condemned the idea. Sepp Blatter commented that England can’t be like ‘Harlem Globetrotters or a circus.’ As well as this he raised concerns that such a policy would damage England’s World Cup bid for 2018. So why on earth are we still trying to justify such an idea. Most of the 20 Premier League clubs in the last three season have been on pre season tours to Asia, America or Australia. From this, their international appeal has grown and the Premier League has expanded itself across the globe. The Premier League is the most watched football league in the world but we must accept that we are the English Premier League. First and foremost the fans come first. Pre season friendlies are the way to increase international appeal, not a Premier League match.
As well as this what is the guarantee that all stadiums in the international round would even be filled. Look at the World Cup this summer. Some games were not full, especially the matches that were not deemed as ‘big games.’ Under the proposals set out by Richard Scudamore in 2008, it would be a lottery system to see which city’s would each game. There would be no seeding. If a less glamorous game was drawn in a massive American city would the crowds really sell the stadium out? If not, both the Premier League and the clubs involved would be embarrassed. Why the risk the integrity of our league for extra revenues.
To further damn the idea, other countries respective associations haven’t met the idea with open arms. A massive market for the games, Korea and Japan has expressed strong reservations, the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) would vote strongly against these measures and Australia and the MLS will oppose the ideas if they do not have Fifa support. Basically, that leaves ten games for the middle east. What would be the point? The country’s who are opposing the ideas are the ones that would offer the most revenue streams and fan appeal. The idea is flawed from the outset and should be put to bed once again.
The 39th game is an idea perpetuated by greedy, self- centred individuals including Richard Scudamore and greedy chairman’s. It was said that all 20 chairman’s supported the idea back in 2008, which was disputed by the Daily Mail. NESV has been positive so far but they need to rethink supporting this proposal. The only people that will gain from this are the money men. Clubs revenues in theory would increase, but these proposals would clearly favour the top teams. Speaking completely hypothetically, if Manchester United have a huge fan base in Asia they will play there. Lets not kid ourselves that this will be fair for all.
Supporters groups brought down these ideas in 2008 and it looks like it could be up to them again. For the sake of the integrity of the English game we need to suffocate these proposals. Pre season tours are their for a reason, and clubs use them how they want to. They should not be forced to play a Premier League fixture in another country. The idea is ludicrous, and a plan to line as many pockets – totally neglecting the fans.
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