The idea of a European Premier League has, once again, raised its head on the back of “Project Big Picture” being swiftly brushed aside.
I think people have to accept that this will happen at some point in the future. It’s been touted since the 90s and every time it comes around again, it seems somewhat closer to inception.
Is this a good move for football?
The answer to that question is no. However, it certainly is an intriguing concept for supporters of those teams who may be involved.
Should the EPL be implemented in the way it’s being talked about, it only stands to keep the rich clubs rich.
Being a Liverpool supporter, it’s hard to speak about this without my Red cap on. However, it’s important to recognise the danger it poses to clubs outside of the elite.
The inception will make attaining top four in the Premier League less important. The clubs who are in it are in it and the ones who are not, are not. It may take away from the best league in the world in terms of competitiveness.
You’ve also got teams like Everton, Leicester & Wolves who, if they do well, can achieve a top-four finish. This is massive for clubs like this, clubs who are on the way to breaking into the “top 6.”
From a Liverpool perspective, I’d much rather watch the Reds play the Bayern Munich’s of the world than travel to Morecambe in the League Cup, for example.
However, I also value the special occasions of European nights at Anfield. What’s so special is that we don’t play these sides often. They’re special experiences and I’ve been lucky to be a part of a few.
Playing the top European sides on a weekly basis will take away from the spectacle. It will become tiresome, boring, predictable. The excitement of Champions League draws will be taken away. These days are amongst the most anticipated of the year.
Devout fans finding out which countries they can tick off their lists, fans who can only attend home games being told who they’ll welcome in the season. All of this will go away.
Most of the money being talked about will come from TV deals as countries air the biggest games in this proposed league. It will help expand global audiences to numbers we’ve never seen before.
As Ian Ayre once said: “if you’re in Kuala Lumpur there isn’t anyone subscribing to Astro or ESPN to watch Bolton.”
Of course, Bolton will be nowhere near these discussion but the sentiment stays the same. Of these 18 or so teams, how long will it be until someone becomes the Bolton of the setup.
Fans will regularly tune in to watch Liverpool v Real Madrid & Manchester United, for example. Let’s say Inter Milan face Lyon in this league. I can guarantee the viewing figures for the first two games will be drastically higher than the last, why?
Because of the names involved. It’s as simple as that, really. More people will pay to watch bigger games than the so-called “smaller,” games. This is the case domestically in every league.
So the actual plan changes nothing in the long run. Consumers will always choose to watch the bigger game, no matter the setting.
Overall, a move to implement this league is purely based on financial greed. It also stops the elite ‘golden boys’ being humilaited by much smaller clubs (see Real Madrid last night.)
The topic brings many questions to the table which no one can really answer. One question we can answer, though, is: how much money do these people need?
The answer is not much more than they already have.