Premier League A Threat to World Football Order

I must say that in twenty some odd years of following football or soccer as we call it here in the U.S. I have never been so angry and offended by a single decision as by the Premier League’s announcement to add a 39th round of matches on foreign soil beginning in 2011.

This decision is so offensive and so wrong I am not even sure where to begin. The idea of a domestic league simply exporting its product and playing competitive matches in the middle of its season is simply put an insult to the footballers and managers in one of the world’s finest leagues. In addition it is an afront on all of the things that make World Football the sport it is to play competitive meaningful matches on the soil of another nations whose first divisions are accredited and recognized by FIFA.

The Premier League is a distinctly English product and while in my opinion it is the world best football league to watch weekly, I am not sure I agree with the legions of critics in this country who some how think it is superior to any other league in the world and that every other European first division plays an inferior brand of football. I happen to believe in many ways Serie A and Italy and the Bundesliga 1 in Germany are every bit as good in quality and better in competitiveness and tactics than the Premier League. Spain’s La Liga, I would put fourth (or lower) on any list of world leagues. But rating the leagues isn’t the issue. It is the arrogance of one league which is distinctly domestic product to run rough shot over the entire established order of governance of the sport. The arrogance of one league whose money and corporate driven agenda is so out of control, it reflects in almost every decision the league makes these days.

A s I stated before the Premier League is an English product or at least was. In this new order the fans of four clubs with massive international followings and two others with decent sized international followings (Spurs and Newcastle) will be alright, but what about the rest of the Premier League and what about the Coca Cola Football League clubs in England? What happens to those Boro fans whose working class wages are hardly enough to buy tickets for a matches at the Riverside where prices go up every season or two, while Boro fans see less and less hope of cup and league glory? How about the fan of any number of clubs in the midlands who now not only misses a league fixture because it is being played somewhere else and because of the costs involved in maintaining this circus may have to give up a season card outright? What about the FIFA sanctioned domestic leagues (including MLS) who play in the nations which the Premier League will be visiting? After seeing Manchester United or Liverpool in person more are more American fans with no ties whatsoever to England are bound to proclaim “MLS isn’t good enough for my support, the faster it goes away the better,” as I have seen on some message boards already from alleged supporters of the game in this nation? Most importantly to me will the PL’s circus tour drive young kids who are learning the game from China, Japan, and of course the US to turn on their domestic leagues, not follow it and not aspire to play in MLS? Will these same kids when given the opportunity to move overseas to a Dutch or English club always choose the English club, even though as we have pointed out before on this site player development of Americans is measurably better in Holland?

One reason I believe Mexico is always in better footballing shape than the U.S. even when we defeat them is that their youth grow up wanting to be the next star for America or Chivas not for Real Madrid, Arsenal or even the Azzuri, like many in the U.S. That may be changing with the likes of Gio, Carlos Vela and Andreas Guardado being abroad at a young age. Last week, my co-host Dave Denholm pointed a statistic from his Super Bowl media packet which was music to my ears.  Seven to twelve years old in the U.S. list MLS as one of their favorite spectator sports. I am sure it is the same for domestic leagues in other nations touched by the Premier League’s greed and imperialistic designs. FIFA must step in and stop this wrong headed move.

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11 Responses to Premier League A Threat to World Football Order

  1. brittkamp says:

    Kartik,

    I heard some douche on a rival radio show call in and proclaim that a Wigan- Sunderland game in the US would be better to watch than MLS!

    I believe that it is the snobs that hurt the game more in the US than do all of the soccer haters combined!

  2. bzygo says:

    I don’t mind the idea of them doing the occasional fixture in another country (ala the NFL), but to add an entire new gameweek and play them all on foriegn soil just smacks of overreaching greed and smugness. Have they really considered the logistics???

  3. Ray says:

    I agree with this post whole heartedly and want to endorse everything in it. This assault on the American game by the snobs is what creates this. You talk to so called supporters of this game here in this country and they are obsessed with the PL and Englands National Team. That is totally uncalled for.

  4. eplnfl says:

    Kartik, thanks to your work and others at CSRN the MLS is getting the credit it has earned with recent upgrades to the league as a whole.

    My greater interest in the MLS was promoted by the great interest I have in the EPL. By experience seems to be not uncommon. So, I would expect that 2 matches played in the US on weekend in January, in your backyard btw, would in fact increase interest and support for the American game.

    Yes, the Mexicans are a better soccer nation nation then the US. Good for them. However, Mexico does not support the number of major professional sports as does the US. I would also point out in my opinion that great Mexican players as well as great American players were and still are ignored, downgraded, or mis-sued by the European football powers.

  5. RZ says:

    I am so over the Premier League.

    A few years ago it was on constantly and I really had not discovered other football leagues besides MLS which was then of a much lower standard than it is today.

    Now that I have watched other European League I realize the obvious: England is quicker but also more top heavy than those leagues. The Bundesliga to me is the most comepetitive and Spain the most exciting.

    The Premier League perhaps senses the number of people like myself who have begun to tune out the noise machine coming from London and parts north and are trying to fix that by bringing their product right to your doorstep before the competetion does.

  6. Three Lions says:

    So we shouldn’t give our Yanks exposure here at home? The ones who play in the Premier League?

    The Premier League is head and shoulders above all other leagues in the world. It is like in American sports, the MLB whereas the Italian and German leagues you seem to love are like Triple A, and MLS, single A or rookie league.

    The only way to get people to respect the game here is to bring the best the world has to offer here. Only the Premier League makes that possible. Serie A is a lower quality that would put people to sleep and the Bundesliga is seriously crap. I don’t know how you can like a league so much that produces so little in the way of entertainment. Then again you believe MLS is a real league so obviously you know so little about REAL football, the British flavor.

    Even when England does not win we play entertaining open football when not influenced by an Italian flavored foreign manager. Capello will likely flop because he like Sven doesn’t understand how we play and how we develop our footballers. You can continue to attack everything about our football and our clubs but nothing in the US in anyway resembles England. If we were in CONCACAF we’d never lose a match or if we just tackled people like thew Germans you love or cheated with paid officials like the Italians.

    Your post is despicible. I have nothing more to say.

  7. Three Lions,

    You say “Capello will likely flop because he like Sven doesn’t understand how we play and how we develop our footballers.”

    There in lies the fundamental problem. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the Premier League does not develop players. In fact, it can be very heavily debated that players end up regressing because there is no tactics involved in English Football save Manchester City and Arsenal.

    Quite frankly I can’t remember the last time I saw England play entertaining football. I may not have been born yet.

    Since it’s obvious you know nothing about tactical football, do us a favor and only come back when you do. The Germans only tackle people…is that a built in English defense mechanism to prevent one from actually realizing the obvious? The Italians only bribe officials? Can you show evidence that Italy won any of their World Cup because they bribed officials off? If you do, why the heck are you posting here?

    And I can safely say that if you played in CONCACAF, you would not win every game. That statement there shows how little knowledge of the game you truly have. To say that MLS is A ball or rookie league says we shouldn’t give anything you say any credance because you don’t know what you are talking about and that we should laugh and mock you like Michel Platini did in a presser on Saturday.

    Are you sure you even follow football?

  8. Kartik says:

    The Premier League is head and shoulders above all other leagues in the world. It is like in American sports, the MLB whereas the Italian and German leagues you seem to love are like Triple A, and MLS, single A or rookie league.

    If Serie A is a minor league why does squad of the 2006 World Cup champions save one player (who BTW plays for Bayern Munich in GERMANY) hold court in that league?

    Even when England does not win we play entertaining open football when not influenced by an Italian flavored foreign manager. Capello will likely flop because he like Sven doesn’t understand how we play and how we develop our footballers.

    This case can clearly be made because foreign managers IMHO are almost ALWAYS a bad idea for an established footballing nation. You would never see Italy, Brazil Germany or France hire a foreign manager. NEVER. Mexico will never hire one again after LaVolpe. NEVER.

  9. bandeeto says:

    Three Lions:

    You’re a frickin genius. Totally objective. Wickidly funny. Please explain why you are defending th FA’s action when fans from england also hate this idea? Everybody with half a clue, who doesn’t stand to make money by this, knows this is a bad idea.

  10. Alphonso says:

    Good article Kartik. Found this from the link from a laughably crass article criticising the ManCity kit for the derby game. A couple of points, first development of young players through Premiership club Academies. You suggest that this does not happen, I can assure you it does. For instance ManCity lined up on Sunday with Onuoha, Richards and Ireland on the pitch, Johnson would have played if he had not been injured, the nineteen year old Sturridge if Benjani had not been signed, whilst Etuhu and Logan, two more 19 year old’s are also first team squad members. You mention Middlesbrough, another side with a fine Academy and Everton too always have real quality coming through and I could go on. Yes, you are correct that the mega rich 4 clubs tend to buy what they need rather than devlop but even the spenthrift Liverpool who annually squander vast sums on non-entities can boast Carragher, Gerrard etc. Arsenal recruit the world’s top teenagers and along with Chelsea ignore the local product, players like Bentley have to go elsewhere to develop, so I’ll give you those two.

    On the proposal to take the Premier League around the world I’d say this; it is another in a long line of money grabbing mucky schemes to rake in more cash where no more cash is needed! Many ordinary players are already paid as much as fifty thousand pounds a week for goodness sakes. The rich will get richer, the poor poorer and the victims will be the competitiveness of the league and the fans as usual! It will also be unfair. The only fair format is for every side to play each other home and away, the format proposedis for the top sides (and they mean biggest crowd pullers) to avoid each other to maximise pulling power. How can that be fair, answer it can’t, comment; they don’t give a damn, they only see the dollars!

    As for Capello, he might just be tough enough to succeed. To do so he will need to carry on as he is now. Select based on what he sees not what he is told by FA or gutter press, don’t learn English, kick out the prima donnas and instil a culture of clean living and dedicated training.

    On reflection you’re right, he’ll fail!!

    Alph

  11. Three Lions says:

    I forgot Kartik was a Citeh fan!!!!!!

    That explains his bliss ignorance about all things football!!!!!

    Seriously he writes good yank centric pieces but how can all of you continue to defend Germany and Italy when both nations have taken a beautiful game and corrupted it. German Football is the closet thing FIFA sanctions to Rugby and Italy’s countless scandals speak for themselves.

    Yet the Yanks want to embrace these nations and leagues while superior leagues in England and Spain are run without the funny stuff.

    I saw a stroy recently about a “budding partnership” between MLS and the Bundesliga. If MLS had any chance at all of making it on the world stage they threw it out the car window on the motorway, or shall I say the Autobahn with that move.

    From the article it appears MLS is modeling its play, TV production and business dealings on the Bundesliga. Yet some of you wonder why in Britain MLS is considered a “hackers” league. It’s the German influence!

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