In the next few weeks, Premier League chairmen will be presented with a couple of options to consider regarding their clubs playing overseas matches in an international competition in the near future.
Two of the options being considered include a mini-tournament being played during a winter break, and a summer friendly competition named the Premier League Cup to replace the current Community Shield.
Here’s how it would work:
The Premier League Cup idea would seed the Big Four teams among five groups of four teams. Each group would feature a glamor side such as Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal. The other teams featured would be a mixture of Premier League teams and clubs from the Football League who would qualify through a revised version of the League Cup tournament.
Each of the five groups would be stationed in a city overseas with most of the groups situated in Asia. For example, here’s how the groups could look:
Hong Kong group: Liverpool, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, QPR.
Sydney group: Arsenal, Sunderland, Fulham, Birmingham City.
Los Angeles group: Chelsea, West Ham, Bolton, Wolves.
Singapore group: Manchester United, Everton, Newcastle, Hull.
Dubai group: Manchester City, Portsmouth, Blackburn, Spurs.
The cities and groups are hypothetical but they give you an idea of how the tournament could be structured worldwide. The structure of the tournament resembles the Premier League’s Asia Cup Trophy except that it would be played around the worldwide and would feature more teams.
While the Premier League Cup concept is still an idea in its planning stages, the tournament could breathe life into a Carling Cup which is treated like a joke by most Premiership teams. However, two issues are that clubs such as Arsenal may decide to play their youngsters in a Premier League Cup instead of their first team. And the seeding of the Big Four in the Premier League Cup stinks of favoritism and is unfair to the other 16 clubs in the league.
Getting rid of the Community Shield wouldn’t be a huge loss. The charity match seems more like a preseason friendly year after year.
On the plus side, a tournament such as the Premier League Cup would bring out the fans in droves worldwide especially if the games are more meaningful than preseason friendlies that foreign fans are accustomed to. How seriously Premiership teams would take the tournament is yet to be determined, but if the Premier League can get some major sponsors for the tournament then the prize money could be quite significant.
The concept of the Premier League Cup could be an easier pill to swallow instead of the more radical 39th Game idea. If the Premier League Cup was successful, though, it could pave the way to make the 39th Game a reality.
What are your thoughts about the idea of the Premier League Cup? Would you go see some of the matches if they were played near you? And do you feel clubs would treat the tournament seriously? Share your thoughts by clicking the comments link below.