Should the FA Community Shield Be Played Overseas?

Chelsea v Manchester City
The FA Community Shield
8.30am, Sunday, August 12, 2012
Villa Park, Aston Villa FC
Live on FOX Soccer

It’s around this time of year that I start getting particularly giddy about the prospect of a brand spanking new Premier League season. With my Fantasy Premier League team settled, the fixture lists are out and magazines and tabloids are beginning to churn out their season previews, it all points towards the Premier League being very nearly upon us once again. Whilst golf, tennis and the Olympics have gone some way to filling the sporting void left after the drama of the May 13th Premier League finale , we soccer addicts are mere days away from receiving our much needed fix.

The initial part of this fix is administered in the annual curtain raiser to the season, the Community Shield. The game sets an encouraging precedent for the nine months ahead; that top flight English football is back in business.

This year’s game is contested between the Champions, Manchester City and FA Cup Winners (and European Champions) Chelsea. It presents an opportunity for the majority of us to cast an eye over two of the sides most likely to challenge for the Premier League title and the adjustments they have made in anticipation of the upcoming campaign. Chelsea, in particular, will have a fresh look to the side with new signings Eden Hazard and Marko Marin likely to play a part. City, on the other hand, have yet to make any major signings, but their squad still has a formidable look to it which should make them favorites on the day.

The match on Sunday will take place outside of London for the first time since the re-opening of Wembley stadium, with Villa Park playing host to the showpiece. For once, this seems like quite the logical move by the FA (even if the Olympic Games have forced their hand), as a trip to Birmingham will provide a comparable journey for each set of fans. It should also eradicate the empty seats that have been present in the respective ends of both Chelsea and Manchester City supporters when they have been involved in this game in recent years, with Villa Park having a more modest capacity of around 45,000.

It is usually a game both sides tend to take particularly seriously. I’d say somewhere between a pre-season friendly and a Premier League game. If you win, its a trophy that can provide impetus for the new campaign. Lose, and just consider it as another run out before things get serious.

Whilst the Community Shield has been temporarily relocated this year, across Europe a more permanent kind of relocation has occurred for the equivalent fixtures. The Italian Super Cup competition will be played in China for the third time. Such is the success of this proposal and previous game, the Italian FA have agreed a deal to stage the game in China for the next four years. La Liga officials have also followed suit, as the Spanish alternative will be played in the Far East as of 2013 after also signing a four year deal.

Inevitably, this has lead to many looking at the plausibility of the Community Shield being played overseas. The pseudo-competitive nature of the match means that it could a more appealing package than the failed “39th game” proposal, which wouldn’t prevent die-hard fans from missing any competitive action. Whilst the financial benefits of taking such a high profile game abroad are undoubted, it also gives the supporters from across the globe the chance to see a more competitive game than the usual run-of-the-mill preseason friendly.

This is something I feel we could hear a lot more about in coming years. Even though The FA ruled out the possibility of staging this year’s match abroad last year (when looking for an alternative venue to Wembley), they will no doubt cast an envious glance at the revenue generated from the Italian and Spanish games coupled with the additional branding the league would ascertain worldwide from staging such a high profile match overseas. From an monetary perspective, it would seem foolish to miss out on an opportunity that others are cashing in on.

But it could pose a problem for those directly involved with the participating teams. For the players themselves, a trip to the Far East and all the fatigue and jet-lag that comes with it would not be ideal a mere week before the serious stuff gets started. Plus, for devoted season ticket holders of the teams participating; is it fair for them to be denied the opportunity of seeing their side play for a trophy which is in itself part of the fabric of English football? Or perhaps the game should be played in the United States instead?

I have no doubt this will be looked at in coming years, but I fear we could see a similar style backlash to the “39th game” proposal if it was ever to be seriously put forward. With many English supporters becoming increasingly disillusioned with the game and the copious amounts of money involved, another attempt at taking a high profile game abroad motivated by financial gain might not go down a treat, especially at the expense of a match as steeped in tradition as the Community Shield.

Do you think the Community Shield could plausibly be played abroad? Should it keep true to tradition and stay at Wembley after this one year absence? Who are you excited to see play in Sunday’s game?

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19 thoughts on “Should the FA Community Shield Be Played Overseas?”

  1. It is called the “Community Shield”. Surely in this case the word community applies to the people of England/Wales, those communities that participate in the FA.

    If anything they should take it out of Wembley and put it in a different region of England/Wales each year. A rotating display truly meant for the community.

    I’m guessing this is a major way the FA pays for the English National Team, but wouldn’t it be great if tickets were free and based on a lottery system and to cover the costs of staging the game they just relied on local sponsors and the TV deal?

    Idealism… it is an illness.

    1. Alan..stop smoking what you are smoking, stop guessing as well and go open a wiki-link.

      The Community/Charity Shield’s mission, is to raise revenue for altruistic purposes, and no – the national team doesn’t count. If the money raised with an overseas match is similar, then why not, it’s more appealing than a “39th match.”

      I think it’s an interesting idea, the Italian supercup has been played overseas the last two years, probably because the Italians could care less about cup football.

  2. French Super Cup is also played over-seas, usually in French speaking countries but this season it was played in Red Bull Arena, pretty entertaining game and a decent crowd turned up, though the tickets were very cheap which is why the attendance was good

    1. they were actually giving out free tickets to that game to get enough people in the stadium… Don’t see them every going back there.

      1. This is very true, even though I was in attendance for that superb match, the crowd was lacking. Chelsea and Man City would not have those problems though, and they would easily sellout Red Bull Arena. Its not a bad idea to play the Community Shield outside of England, 100x bigger than the Trophee des Champions in terms of supporters worldwide

  3. Oh yeah I can just see it now Utd v City/Liverpool in a competitive match in Giants stadium, how exactly do they plan on keeping fans of both teams from away from each other in the stadium. Pre season games are one thing but put those fans together during a competitive match and it would be a problem, especially if you have fans from the uk making the trip. Other than that I’m all for the idea.

  4. I was at the Trophee des Champoins at Red Bull arena and enjoyed it quite a bit. I was pretty surprised by how stoked Lyon were when they won on penalties and I have to admit there was a part of me that forgot it was a competitive match until then. Having the community shield in that setting I can imagine would bring an electric atmosphere, i would be all for it. I noticed the French left two weeks between the game and the opening of their season which seems like a good idea. The Community Shield I think is usually the week before start of the Prem right?

  5. Playing it undersea would suit me. If they were to go overseas it’d be as likely to end up in Asia as America.

  6. I think it is a very good idea. It’s the least prestigious of the cups in the EPL and supporters of EPL clubs don’t think much of the cup anyway. It will give overseas supporters an opportunity to see a competetive match instead of the friendlies they now have.

    1. It’s not a cup, it’s a shield. Hence the name of the match.

      Only two clubs care about the Community Shield each year.

      It should stay in England because to move this game overseas one week before the start of the season is for lack of a better word…..dumb.

  7. If any game is going to be played overseas it will be this one, I doubt very much a league game will be played overseas. As someone has already said though, that wouldn’t automatically mean the U.S. They would probably get more money in Asia than the U.S

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  9. No. It shouldnt be played overseas. Besides if it was, anyone thinking it would be here in North America are fooling themselves. It would be in Asia.

  10. The biggest institutional argument against playing this overseas – Wembley has bills / debts to pay, and they want to host every possible match at the stadium. That’s why the FA Cup semifinals are also hosted there, plus a bunch of other stuff.

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