What Are Premier League Owners Up To?

The Premier League club owners announced their plan to extend the season by one match (to 39 matches) yesterday, and have every club play one match abroad in January, starting in January 2011.


The plan is to auction off the rights to host two matches each to five different cities, with two matches to be played in each city over the same weekend.

Peter Scudamore, the Premier League’s Chief Executive said on Thursday:

“We believe that an ‘international round’ of matches will enhance the strength of the Barclays Premier League as a competition; create extra interest in all 20 Premier League Clubs at home and abroad; and allow increased investment in talent development and acquisition, facilities as well as our football development and community programs.”

Then only today, FIFA said it expected the English governing body, the Football Association, to send it something official about these plans:

“We understand the Premier League’s desire to raise interest in English football around the world,” “

We look forward to discussing the detail with the League and looking carefully at the implications, to ensure that the proposal fits well alongside the existing fixture list, including our domestic cup and league competitions and our national team games.”

However, the Premier League’s plans to play games across the world been heavily criticized by fans and the media Friday.

We’re not sure this is the right way to go for the Premier League. It hardly makes sense to go to different cities around the world to publicize the best football league in the world. Why isn’t TV good enough for fans around the world?

We can tell you we see lots and lots of games over here in the US from different countries and almost all of the Premier League games with Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports both showing the PL games.

Wee feel it’s great to be able to watch the game live on TV and it’s almost as good as being in England. Young Americans are able to watch top class football as it should be played and football is very popular with youngsters here who see a big career for themselves in Europe – if they are good enough. That was never true 15 years ago.

While the NFL and NHL go and play games in other countries they hardly have the television draw of football (that’s the real football) and may have to try to pump up interest in their spots which are mainly US centric with their audience.

But that’s hardly the case with football, which is by now the world’s premier game, easily, and if the best league in the world can increase the TV coverage to countries the world over, that would be great.

We don’t mind a trial to see how it goes but we hardly think it makes sense to play many Premier League game in other countries. If you take this far enough – as Harry Redknapp has – the local fans will not be able to see their home town teams play.

What the Premier League are trying to do has to be explained better, because it doesn’t make sense to most football people.

Here are some quotes that were made on the plan just today:


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday.

“My instinctive reaction is not to be against innovation” “This league is at the moment acknowledged as the best in the world but only 10 per cent of people who love the clubs have access to the games and 90 per cent don’t.”

“But it can only be valid if you respect certain criteria. The first is to respect the competitive side of our game. The second is respect the quality of the organization you have inside the game and the fairness of the game.”


Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp also commented on the plan today:

“I said months ago I could see us playing abroad, I could see them all taking their teams, getting more and more foreign owners “We will probably end up playing one game a year in England and the rest around the world.”

“It would be like the Harlem Globetrotters (touring basketball team).”

FIFA, the world governing body which is campaigning to stop the big clubs from effectively taking over the game, said it would need to analyze the plan that has been announced:

The Japanese Football Association vice-president Junji Ogura said:

“It sounds problematic,” “We are, in principle, opposed to having their Premier League games in Japan as we have to protect our league and clubs.”

“In Japan, we don’t allow anyone to play a match that involves only foreign clubs and no Japanese clubs.”

Duncan Drasdo of the Manchester United Supporters Trust said:

“No doubt there will be some supporters who naively assume this will generate funds for their clubs but of course in reality all extra revenue goes straight out of the clubs into the owners’ pockets,”

“Just look at Manchester United for example. Record sponsorship and record TV revenues and yet still the ticket prices are increased by record amounts (50 per cent in three seasons).”

One of the really big problems with the Premier League is that the top clubs every season earn the most money from TV and from the Premier league.

So the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and if something isn’t done soon, we’ll have a lot more teams going out of existence, which is the heart of the game. Things will come to a head and before we know it lower league clubs will be bankrupt. It’s like a guy falling from the 60th floor and as he passes the 30th floor says “So far so good.”

This situation is solved in America by the college recruiting system, where the bottom professional team gets the first (best player) draft pick, so it tends to keep the teams competitive.

Maybe they should play these games around the world to try it out – but then divide the revenues to the non-Premier clubs only – now there’s something that may be worth looking at – but somehow we don’t the Premier league owners would be too interested in that.

Well – that’s what we think.

What do you think – please let us know.

Comments very welcome.

27 comments so far

  • ronaldeano

    Feb 8, 2008 at 10:30 PM

    Comment #1

    The yanks play thair shitty games all over the world, but only yanks watch them cos there games are shit. Them PL is OUR league, lets keep it that way

  • ronaldeano

    Feb 8, 2008 at 10:32 PM

    Comment #2

    ours is called football, thair version is HANDBALL. its shit

  • Tom from Aus

    Feb 8, 2008 at 10:55 PM

    Comment #3

    i hope they come to australia. ive never seen a newcastle game live, ive only seen them on TV. it would be great

  • Tripp

    Feb 8, 2008 at 11:04 PM

    Comment #4

    ronald you’re a tw@t.

    This is just a marketing ploy to generate higher TV revenues for the EPL. By getting folks in the states to take a more active interest they’ll wanna watch more of it. It’s a helluva lot better than the MLS, but it’s below the radar for most folks. The move doesn’t surprise me at all, but I don’t really have an opinion. However, if I get a chance to see NUFC in Denver then I’m all for it. 😀

  • Tripp

    Feb 8, 2008 at 11:07 PM

    Comment #5

    If FIFA wants to stop the big clubs they’re going to have to implement a salary cap.

  • Edd Case

    Feb 8, 2008 at 11:19 PM

    Comment #6

    This is all about greed and nothing about football.

    We seem to have done very nicely without this additional ‘match’ for more than 100 years – I see no reason for it now.

    Always someone trying to cock things up for everyone else and the reason behind it is virtually always money.

  • Nev

    Feb 8, 2008 at 11:22 PM

    Comment #7

    its proberbly a bad idea as all the new owners of clubs will pocket the profits

    but the counter arguement is that fans from the US , Aus n Asia get to watch good high quality competive football by the best players in the world .. no disrepect to the MLS n J-League lol

    i really cant decide …

  • Tom_Toon

    Feb 8, 2008 at 11:27 PM

    Comment #8

    Just play pre-season freindlies in neutral venues around the world, not league matches, dont add another league game.

  • IrishMan

    Feb 8, 2008 at 11:30 PM

    Comment #9

    I don’t understand it. How could each team play one extra match? Each team plays each team home and away (i.e., 38 games). Would this extra (exhibition) match count towards league table points? Strange……..

  • CJ

    Feb 8, 2008 at 11:37 PM

    Comment #10

    Ed you have hit the nail on the head it is all about greed. Why are the Prem Lge interested in pleasing people abroad they should be concentrating on lowering ticket prices and filling all the grounds in the Prem this is what happens when you put moneymen in charge of the game.

  • ksmit

    Feb 8, 2008 at 11:46 PM

    Comment #11

    It doesn’t make any sense to me with respect to the league and competition. If you have two teams fighting relegation and one gets matched with a top four club and the other with a bottom club it ruins the integrity of the league. There seems to be no fair way of seeding the teams for those who are fighting for a european spot or relegation.

  • Todd

    Feb 8, 2008 at 11:52 PM

    Comment #12

    Ronaldeano, you’re an idiot. Our “shitty game” in America was an exciting affair, watched on TV by approximately 97.5 million viewers.

    Being a “Yank,” I enjoy it when the Premier League comes to the states. I once traveled 3 hours in heavy traffic to watch an exhibition between Man U and Juventus, and I don’t even like either team. I understand the scheduling nightmares, and the logistic problems, but I would be thrilled if Newcastle came somewhere close to where I live.

    It’s an effort to promote a fantastic game on a global scale. I do understand the critics, but it is a wonderful treat for those of us who can normally only see the matches on TV or online.

  • Phil,Gosforth

    Feb 9, 2008 at 12:00 AM

    Comment #14

    I’m sure Fifa been moaning about reducing the size of the premiership,so they had less games,for foOkin years.Greed,nothing more tbh.

  • Tom_Toon

    Feb 9, 2008 at 12:01 AM

    Comment #15
  • CJ

    Feb 9, 2008 at 12:12 AM

    Comment #16

    Mr Scudhimonthemoor

  • Leo*

    Feb 9, 2008 at 12:31 AM

    Comment #17

    its all crap, money driven ploy by big bosses trying to widen their wallet some more.

  • Hadrian

    Feb 9, 2008 at 1:35 AM

    Comment #18

    i think its crap , no disrespect to any of our foreign supporters, but you know yourself the mood of this city and economy can be swayed by whats happening at these clubs .
    they belong to the fans for entertainment not millionares to earn more cash ,
    this idea stinks of greed and not Promo

  • Zx

    Feb 9, 2008 at 1:54 AM

    Comment #19

    I think you should give fans outside UK a chance to watch EPL football as well. EPL is the top league in the world, its no wonder that there are demand for it worldwide.

    Just because home supporters can’t afford to travel around to support their doesn’t mean fans outside UK should be deprive of this opportunity. Anyway, it is only for one-match, I’m sure if the response is poor, they will not proceed further with this idea.

  • ObaFan2

    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:00 AM

    Comment #20

    More money for EPL but at the cost of a “stupid” extra game? what on earth are they thinking? Well ££££££££££££ only I suppose.

    I don’t dislike the play a game abroad idea but this suggestion is pure daft…… an extra game lmao…. ridiculous.

  • Guinea Mag

    Feb 9, 2008 at 9:01 AM

    Comment #21

    It’s all about money again……

    Outside the UK, football (or soccer if your from US) fans have the opportunity to watch nearly all PL games live.

    The majority of PL teams have fans world wide and the PL and its clubs know there’s big money to be exploited!

    The biggest issue is if Newcastle are drawn to play one of the big 4 in the 1-off game overseas, or on current form anyone from the top half of the PL, then we have no chance of picking up a point.

    Maybes by 2010 we have a team in the top half who can complete with teh Big-4!!!!!

  • Guinea Mag

    Feb 9, 2008 at 9:02 AM

    Comment #22

    ……., meant live on TV!

  • Marguerite

    Feb 9, 2008 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #23

    Instinctively, I feel that anything Scudamore has his grubby little paws into (after the West Ham/Tevez affair) has to be closely scrutinised. In my view this man is not to be trusted and it amazes me how he still has the job.

    My gut feeling is that is just a money making exercise with the FA / Premier league and the big clubs being the beneficiaries. These clubs will be given the best venues and how is it going to affect the league itself?

    No disrespect but who is going to pay money to watch Bolton v Fulham etc?

    I am not against change as such, and I can appreciate that our fans out of the UK would relish the opportunity to see their teams ‘live’, but I need to hear a lot more before I would be convinced.

    Having said that, if Blatter is against it, that could make me change my mind instantaneously!!!!

  • Howie

    Feb 9, 2008 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #24

    i have no problem with the league wanting to globalise but the way they are trying to do it is wrong. the charity shield match could be played abroad and i dont think many would have a problem with that or you could change the charity shield into a 4 team pre season tournament with the league cup,fa cup, premiership and runners up playing in a mini league in late july/early august and each match could be in different venues

  • Ben

    Feb 9, 2008 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #25

    Soon there will be no English owners, no English managers, no English players – and they will not be playing in England.

  • ende

    Feb 9, 2008 at 10:02 PM

    Comment #26

    While I’d love to see more games over here in the States, I appreciate the sentiment of keeping English Socer english. The off/pre-season friendlies are a great idea, but I say keep the regular season in England. I’d rather have to go to St James to see my mags play anyway. It wouldn’t be Mecca if you didn’t have to walk there. I think that’s some Terrorist saying.

  • Atrocious_Footwear

    Feb 11, 2008 at 9:29 PM

    Comment #27

    The college draft system is utterly inapplicable to ours, what was in place was good enough. The issue is the overuse of raping other countries resources. Oh for the day when we can have more than one QUALITY Englishman playing in Serie A, La Liga, etcetera. If only to prove that we are more than capable of plying wor skills in more than our own given nation to make up for how much we take from others.

    Screw the ’39th’ game. Sign up against it.


    You’ll find the link to the petition on there too. Obnov.


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