Remember when the NFL played a game in London last year, and it was mooted the Premier League might follow suit and play a one-off in New York or Los Angeles? Well, they’re considering going a lot further than that, and playing ten games abroad at five venues. BBC Sport explains:
At a meeting in London on Thursday, all 20 clubs agreed to explore a proposal to extend the season to 39 games.
Those 10 extra games would be played at venues around the world, with cities bidding for the right to stage them.
It is understood the additional fixtures could be determined by a draw but that the top-five teams could be seeded to avoid playing each other.
Great news for the Premier League’s money men and fans of Premier League teams abroad who might get a chance to see their team play. But not such good news for those who care for the integrity of the competition, as it would mean an unbalanced schedule. Local supporters are also likely to be upset with the proposal, to say the least, and the Football Supporters Federation has already spoken out against it:
Football Supporters’ Federation Chairman Malcolm Clarke has challenged the FA to drop the proposal if a majority of fans are against the move.
“We challenge the Premier League to scrap these plans if the majority of football fans in this country don’t want matches to be played abroad.” Clarke said.
“Because the FSF has no doubt whatsoever the vast majority of supporters are against this, and believe it would drag the Premier League into the realms of farce.
“When this ludicrous idea was first mooted in October last year, we ran a poll here on our website a couple and a huge majority of supporters – 80% who took the trouble to vote were in complete opposition to this then and I’m sure they still are now.
“I also personally wrote to all 20 Premier League Chairman about the issue in October – unsurprisingly, only three of them actually took the trouble to reply, but those who did were in complete opposition to the move.
“And I think that figure will go even higher now that the full ridiculousness of the Premier League’s proposals of how this would actually work has been revealed.
“From what I understand, the Premier League proposal would involve the Premiership season being extend to 39 games – and which clubs would play each other in the extra game to be played abroad.
“What effect could that have on promotion and relegation issues? Are we going to see local derbies played in a foreign country thousands of miles away? Are supporters supposed to accept missing on the biggest games of their season because it’s being played on the other side of the planet?
“Let’s face facts, the sole motivation for this is the Premier League to make more money – aren’t they making enough already.
“This displays a complete disregard not for the proud traditions of the English game as well as a crass lack of consideration for football supporters in general. Basically, it’s a case of “We’ve had their money here, now – where else can we get people to put their hands in their pockets.”
This conflict between the globalisation of football and its traditional roots ratchets up a notch with this proposal. What’s your take on it?