February 12, 2008

Asian Football Confederation joins growing backlash against EPL globalization plan.: [Follow-up to an earlier post ...] Reacting to the EPL's proposal to play an extra week of league matches outside of England (beginning January 2011), the AFC head said, "With relation to the overall principle, it is my belief that it is not a good idea to organise domestic leagues in territories other than their own." The US Soccer Federation has already said the same thing. Australia, Japan and Korea FAs also echoed the sentiment. The English FA is grilling EPL chairman Richard Scudamore today on the proposal.

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 01:40 PM - 15 comments

Well, it's not like they need to build the sport in these other countries, like the NFL or even the NHL would. This is a straight-up promotional cash grab, a way to siphon more football revenue from elsewhere. There's a finite amount of money to be spent on sports fandom in each market, and the EPL is looking to take some of that out of the local economy. In some places, especially areas not as financially well-off as most of Europe & North America, that's a big deal. I understand why the EPL's trying to set this up, but I can also certainly understand the backlash from the local clubs and soccer federations.

posted by chicobangs at 02:41 PM on February 12, 2008

EPL and European teams already play exhibition matches in these areas, sometimes against local clubs and sometimes against other European or English clubs, and the local FAs are thrilled to host them. The Mexican league plays an entire Winter tournament at US locations. Why a regular season match should be different I don't understand.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:32 PM on February 12, 2008

I'm guessing the difference is in where the revenue winds up. Exhibitions, especially against local clubs, mean the local clubs or organizations get a decent percentage of the proceeds and the hype. A league match would mean they're getting a much smaller piece of that pie. A Chelsea or an Arsenal traveling abroad to have a friendly is one thing, as they can afford the large outlay for what their return is going to be, both in gate receipts and additional souvenir sales. But for it to be worth the trouble for, say, Wigan or Sunderland (or, heaven forfend, Derby or West Brom) to travel to another continent to play a single club match is a losing proposition unless they're promised the lion's share of the gate receipts, and at that point, what are the locals getting out of it? They're getting shown up by a league that's one-and-out, and they're not even getting a decent piece of the pie for their troubles.

posted by chicobangs at 04:30 PM on February 12, 2008

Do exhibition matches in foreign countries get TV coverage? My guess is no. But the actual EPL matches in foreign countries probably will. Will local clubs get a cut of those TV monies? My guess, also no, or very little, as chico has pointed out.

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:34 PM on February 12, 2008

There's also the issue of FIFA approval. The A-League and its predecessors has included a team from New Zealand, however special permission had to be applied for from the world governing body, and the NZ FA had to fully support it. FIFA don't like national leagues crossing borders, as the objections from some of the national member associations in this case indicate.

posted by owlhouse at 07:29 PM on February 12, 2008

Do exhibition matches in foreign countries get TV coverage? They can do over here in England yes. Particularly if they're part of a mini-tournament like for instance the annual Amsterdam one. Normally the summer football tours of the bigger English clubs will get a showing too. The whole idea of this 39th game abroad is bizarre. I can't believe that it even got to the drawing board let alone beyond it.

posted by squealy at 03:59 AM on February 13, 2008

What happens when Man U and Arsenal are tied (or close) after 38 games and Man U gets Derby while Arsenal draws Man City? This just doesn't seem very logical or well thought out. I could see playing one of the 38 games as an away game for someone but then who do you pick to lose a home game? I would love to see some of these teams come to the states more often, but I don't think it should be at the expense of the Premier League race.

posted by Ricardo at 07:52 AM on February 13, 2008

What happens when Man U and Arsenal are tied (or close) after 38 games and Man U gets Derby while Arsenal draws Man City? Arsenal beat Man City, Man Utd beat Derby and goal difference decides the title. What's shocking there? Kidding, of course, because your point is valid--equally so at the bottom as at top of the table--and, well, any place in the table where something's at stake. The moaning would never end if Liverpool lost their Champions League spot to Everton (lovely though, eh?) or Newcastle got relegated (do they need any help getting relegated?) due to asymmetry in drawing overseas fixtures. Relegation could cost a team 30million; losing a Champions League spot (assuming the teams moves on from the group stage) could amount to losing out on 30-50million. Serious money. As much as I'd love to see them in the States (bearing in mind I have to drive 300 miles even to see MLS), I can see how it undermines the balance and simplicity of 38 games, home-and-home with each other team, best record (read: Arsenal) wins.

posted by lawn_wrangler at 10:11 AM on February 13, 2008

I have seen this suggested elsewhere, and I think it makes much more sense than adding an akward 39th game. Play the Community Shield overseas, or even the Carling Cup Final. You certainly can't move the FA Cup final out of Wembley because of its tradition and popularity, but the other two encounters I mentioned are less popular but will always have top teams. They would be actual competetive games instead of mere exhibition, and no one has to play an extra game or lose an important home game.

posted by Chargdres at 10:36 AM on February 13, 2008

Play the Community Shield overseas, or even the Carling Cup Final. Now this sounds like a good idea. This way, our not-the-brightest-stars-in-the-sky Americans can say they're going to see the World Championship of English Cups while the rest of us get to attend competitve matches that don't effect the League. This sounds much more workable and since Asia doesn't want to play, N. America and S. America could host the two games alternatively. OK, OK----there's the small matter of Africa, but.....

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 11:12 AM on February 13, 2008

The current proposal is for the games to be played in January, starting 2011. (Saw some chappie - might have been Scudamore - yapping about this on FSC over the weekend.) This would require games to be played in places that have relatively nice weather at that time of year, or in places that have large indoor stadiums or stadiums with roofs. Australia? China? We'd need to find a maximum of 10 stadia. Sharing stadia or having the games played over 2 or 3 days would be mirror the normal league schedule, but there's still the team flights and other logistics to work out. I'm sure players and managers will be pleased to finish the Boxing Day extravaganza, then play one of the UEFA matches, then jet out to Beijing before rushing back to England to resume normal league play.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:32 PM on February 13, 2008

Playing the Charity Shield abroad (sorry, I'm sticking with that name) makes some kind of sense, but that's a non-starter, since it's under the FA's jurisdiction, not the PL's, and the PL wants its branding on the foreign matches, as well as the revenues. Now that the foreign associations and federations are chipping in, it's making the PL look like a bunch of tits. Good.

posted by etagloh at 03:18 PM on February 13, 2008

FIFA chief Sepp Blatter says, "This will never happen, at least as long as I am president of FIFA."

posted by worldcup2002 at 06:22 PM on February 14, 2008

Which is roughly the first thing Sepp's ever said that I agree with.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 06:23 PM on February 14, 2008

Coming in January, this proposal runs smack dab up against the FIFA Club World Cup, does it not, more or less? FIFA is never going to approve this, especially now that they are trying to make the World Club Cup a truly global championship that (IIRC) will start moving around the world every year, ie, won't just be held in Japan as it has been done up to now.

posted by dave2007 at 06:38 PM on February 14, 2008

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.