There has naturally been a mixed reaction to the Premier League’s proposals for creating an extra round of games to be played abroad.
The club’s have seemingly seen the money and agreed to this, but it’s the fans that have been mostly against this announcement.
The first thing that can be said about there being an extra round is that at least no Premiership team would miss out on a home game and feel ripped off that they are paying all this money for less games. This is already an advantage in the Premier League’s proposal over the NFL’s recent decision, as Miami Dolphins had one of only eight home games played at Wembley. If a Premier League team were deprived of a home game, this wouldn’t just be general disproval from the nation’s fans, but a major crisis.
As the games would be played on neutral ground, as opposed to a certain team’s home games, then the bias of the venue wouldn’t take control. With the NFL game at Wembley, despite being a Miami ‘home’ game, most of the crowd supported the bigger and most well known team, the New York Giants. With a neutral venue, the tickets would be similar to the FA Cup Final, where an equal percentage of the tickets would go to each team, and the rest being sold to general public or corporate businesses. The smaller teams in the Premier League would get the opportunity to have a lot more people watching them than usual. For example, if the match was played in New York, a team with a small capacity like Portsmouth would be allocated somewhere around 25,000 tickets, more than Fratton Park holds, and Portsmouth would also receive a percentage of the money from the other 50,000 or so tickets that are sold. So even for the teams that are as well known over the world, they would still receive a massive cash boost, as most of the games would be played in the biggest and best stadiums and cities in the world.
With all this money being generated, the ticket prices would be very high, meaning that it would be extremely difficult for the people that struggle to pay for their season ticket not being able to see the match. Wrong. The games are being played over a super weekend, and at different places all around the world, therefore meaning that kick off times are different. The fans of the small teams that rarely get picked for live matches would get another chance to see their team on TV.
It’s a chance for all those devoted fans in Australia, America and the rest of the world, who stay up till the early hours of the morning stooped over a radio just to follow their team, to feel what we take for granted on a TV matchday, where we have a lie in and put our feet up to watch the footy.
The massive amount of money generated from the live coverage and publicity would allow for clubs to perhaps subsidise more coach trips to away games or buy that next star player. With every kick-off time being different, it really would be a super weekend, with every single match being shown live on television.
There is one very, very big problem with the Premier League’s proposal. It will be played in January. Clubs already moan about the three games in quick succession between Christmas and New Year. Not only that, but there is the FA cup third round, FA cup third round replays, FA Cup fourth round, both legs of the Carling Cup semi finals, and an additional 3 rounds of Premier League matches that take place in January, and that’s not including the travelling to these venues and the jetlag too. It shouldn’t be done. As if it couldn’t get any busier, teams are expected to sign players in the transfer window too. Some teams might rest their star players, which would completely backfire on the Premier League.
If the ‘Super Weekend’ was to be played before the season starts, then all the fans that are upset about this proposal could combine their summer holiday with a visit to these cities, in what could be one of the events of the year. The fans that were planning on going could take their kids, and kids that don’t go would be able to stay up to watch their team, as it’s in the summer holidays, for a ‘treat’. Teams would be able to prepare for the climate, as shown in the past summer’s Asia Trophy; you cannot simply turn up for a match in 40 degrees heat. Not only this, but there would be enough time for the teams to recover in time for the start of the normal season, as some teams may have played several thousand of miles further away than the teams that they were meant to play the next weekend, as the current proposal suggests.
Fans would not be as frustrated that they had to play a big team, as their team has a year to overcome the deficit. The seeding could be overlooked as well, as the smaller teams have just as much right to avoid a big team as another big team does, so with a fair draw, no teams can argue at the outcome. People might argue that world fan won’t want to watch two small clubs play each other, but the fact of the matter is, it is the Premier League, one of, if not, the best league in the world. The fans will turn up, and this will be a success. Fans have also argued that this might just one game, but could develop into two, three, even maybe ten Premier League games being played abroad. At the moment it is only one game, and it would be highly unlikely that until it has been tested for several years, any other league would consider copying the Premier League, let alone the Premier League expanding on such a controversial and risky idea. It doesn’t devalue the Premier League, it makes it that extra bit special, and if the games were to be played before the season, then in a way it wouldn’t matter that a team has lost against a Chelsea or an Arsenal, as they’ve had a whole season to address their 3 points dropped. It would still be the same old Premier League, just with a little excitement and drama at the start of the season.
In conclusion, this proposal isn’t a bad thing at all; it’s a move forward that we should embrace. It allows football to expand itself globally, and as long as the timing of this weekend is changed, then it has no repercussions at all for the clubs involved. This isn’t a bad thing; we just aren’t looking at the positives. We aren’t being deprived of something, as many people seem to think, we are being supplied with an extra opportunity to see our team play at the highest level, no matter how we watch it.
Written by jbaker.
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