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Welcome to Super Sunday, live from Malaysia….

Yes, you’re probably bored to death of reading about the proposal to move Premiership football abroad for a competitive  fixture or two, an idea that has been met with some praise but mostly condemnation.

                        Premier League look abroad

This blog is mostly of the condemnation opinion. There are advantages. It’s a fact that forward-thinking people help to keep competitive businesses alive and varied and exciting and there is no doubt why this would appeal to fans worldwide. Especially in the Far East where Premiership football is revered. Would the Americans be interested? Possibly. However this would primarily be due to the dollar signs lighting up their eyes. While some have come out against the idea in America, there is no doubt of the financial appeal to the plans.

The USA may wish to focus on promoting the MLS, a league that has hardly transcended barriers as many thought it would when Beckham arrived. It never will, however, because for ‘soccer’ to thrive it would have to knock integral US sports like baseball and American football off their pedestals. And they are damn tough pedestals so don’t expect it to happen any time soon.

Many countries will be attracted by the wealth and prestige the Premiership can offer, however again it is a push-pull factor between financial strength and the desire to focus on their own game.

 As for the Premiership’s hierarchy, announcing the move as a surprise was a smart one. While Alex Ferguson may have started his complaints at not being informed before it went to press, the top dogs will have assumed that Fergie et al would have been against the proposal and would have rallied anti ‘extra-curricular games’ troops before the announcement was made. The fact that it was a surprise means people had a chance to digest the move without hearing immediate criticism. It means the plans could be announced as bold and exciting before the complaints started, rather than having to go on the defensive from the outset.

In this blog’s opinion it would be a sad day for the game. Ordinary fans are already being alienated and even turning to other sports like rugby, which currently charge nowhere near the admission price of football, have far less prima-donas playing on their teams and also have that fresh sense of a sport untarnished by money. Eventually rugby will become spoilt, like football has been to a certain extent. For Gavin Henson read David Beckham. Sky and Setanta have already realised the potential of the Heineken Cup and will battle for rights, driving up bidding and increasing money into the game. Football, sadly, started turning into a business long ago.

Summer tours to the Far East, new kits brought out each year, pay-per-view club channels, increased merchandise, inflated wages and transfer fees, diamond studs and flashy women. Wags. Hounding of referees. Divers. Defensive tactics. Golden goals. Offside rule? Bribes. Television replays? Compulsory ticket-buying. Fans banned. Fans warned. Game’s over, out ya get.

It might make for sad reading, depressing even, but the truth is it remains in my and millions of others’ eyes: The Beautiful Game. It’s just the idea of taking it away from the fans who support their team through thick and thin makes me feel angry. The fact that a chairman can be so far removed from his supporters that he feels he can take the team worldwide and get fans who are willing to pay whatever he wants to watch his team play. And he feels like he can get away with it. And the really sad thing? He can.

Let’s figure out how to help the Premiership thrive. Let’s just leave Europe to the Cups and America and Asia to pre-season tours. Everyone stays happy and people don’t have a reason to feel betrayed by the very team that made them love football in the first place.

  1. July 18, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    What type of football do you yourself play?

    Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

    Very impressive that this blog is syndicated through Google and is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

    Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

    Soccer / Football greats you should write about next!

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