You’re reading the title of this and I can tell exactly what you are thinking. You’re thinking he is off his rocker, and there is a good chance you are probably correct on that front. However as my close friends and family will know, although I can be wrong about many things, and can make many stupid mistakes, going against me on commercial/sports business knowledge is usually a bad idea. Even the thought took me a few days to process, hence why I am writing this nearly a week after the announcement that changed my opinion. But the thought has stuck with me. Are we all in a bubble and actually the Premier League isn’t the best league in the world!
We all know the facts. The Premier League is the richest in the world. Deloitte Sports Business Group has been saying it for the past three years. Combing that with the brand new TV rights deals that the Premier League have been doing domestically and around the world, with just £5.14 Billion just from the UK deal. According to Deloitte, the clubs of the Premier League earn £3.26 Billion a season. The next placed league will be the Bundesliga whose clubs earn £1.4 billion less across a season. So certainly in financial terms, the clubs can compete with anyone. We only have to look at this Premier League this season to see how much more Premier League clubs can afford compared to others.
The newly named ‘Stokealona’ due to the influx of ex Barcelona players, as well as others of top class such as Xherdan Shaqiri, show how a previous mid-to-low table side can now compete with some of Europe’s elite for the signing of players. Yet, I am still in doubt.
If we look at the past week in football, one of the major headlines was the FIFPro World XI announcement for the best players in 2015. For those of you that do not know, FIFPro is the worldwide representative organisation for 65,000 professional football players. It is effectively the players union on the world footballing stage. And every year since 2005, FIFPro have released the World XI for the best team of players in the world along with their star man who gets the FIFA Ballon d’Or award. Since the awards started back in 2005, only one man has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or while in the Premier League, and he was called Christiano Ronaldo. The last time a player playing a full season of football in the Premier League was included in the FIFA team of the year (excluding Angel Di Maria, who got included despite in the middle of his single season at Manchester United, where he had his worst season of football in his career to date) was back in 2011. How can we say we have one of the best leagues in the world, when the best players in the world are playing elsewhere? If we look at the majority of players nominated by FIFPro over the various years, La Liga in Spain wins big time and so therefore the argument could be put forward that maybe La Liga is the greatest in the world!
Playing in the most financially lucrative football league in the world, should keep the players in. However, the lure of playing for teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona still have a hold over the majority of footballers across the world. Tottenham fans will tell you that for certain, with both club legends Gareth Bale and Luka Modric heading to the Spanish capital. Thierry Henry was one of Arsenal’s most famous players and an absolute legend. However when Barcelona came calling, Thierry called time on his iconic playing career. You can say what you want about him not liking the direction Arsenal was going in, however he had just committed to a brand new long term contract. He loved and still loves Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. But for Barcelona, he turned his back on them. You can say what you like about Luis Suarez and Liverpool finally agreeing it was time to get rid of his after bite-gate at the World Cup. But if you hand a brand new contract to a man that has just spent the season under-fire for biting a second player in Branislac Ivanovic and the season before for racially abusing Patrice Evra, you do not expect them to leave anytime soon. But one of the worlds greatest clubs in Barcelona came calling and that was the end of Suarez on Merseyside. Christiano Ronaldo had turned himself in to the worlds greatest player under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. A club with so much history, prestige and commercial success internationally. Yet when Real Madrid came calling, he was off.
The reasons to doubt the Premier League’s premier status continue. Only two English teams feature on the top ten list for most UEFA Champions League Champions. Only two English teams feature on the top ten list for most UEFA Europa League Champions. Only ONE English team features on the top ten list for most Super Wins. The FIFA Club World Cup has been won by ONE English team ever! If we look at the current crop of the world best players: Paul Pogba, Gerard Pique, Kevin de Bruyne are some of the best players in the world right now. Yet if we look back in their careers, in the Premier League, the supposedly ‘Best League in the World’ they couldn’t make it. Only Kevin de Bruyne has managed to make it back to the first team for a Premier League team however that meant going back to Germany to make a name for himself.
To solve this issue, we need to send a quick message to Richard Scudamore. For every insult he got for trying to implement the 39th game, he has done one brilliant thing to help improve the Premier League and turn it into the global commercial powerhouse that it is. However the man needs to up his game a bit more in order to make sure that we take the league to the next level. We need more of an active role in recruiting. Take Don Garber, MLS Commissioner. He has run MLS since 1999 and he wants it to be one of the biggest leagues in the world. Don Garber has been active in player recruitment since 1999, recruiting the likes of David Beckham to come over and grow the brand of MLS. Richard Scudamore needs to take on this role. Not to grow the brand because that is currently at the highest it has ever been. He needs to get involved in order to fulfill the standard he has set. Only when the the FIFPro World XI is full of players from Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal, can we say that the Premier League is the best league in the world. Because right now, its great, its ours but its not the best.
Although in fairness, no league is perfect!
- I own none of these images, they all belong to their relevant rights holders
- These are my opinions and no one else’s
- Spelling and grammar errors will be cut out on further posts, however its my first one in a long time and I am finishing this at 1:30 in the morning