Premier League All-Star Game: ‘incredibly arrogant’ or natural ‘evolution’?

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The pick of the Premier League XI could face the best footballers from Germany, Italy and other elite leagues as plans for a US-style all-star game are rekindled. SEE MORE Erling Haaland: Man City’s ‘goalscoring monster’ is ‘spooking’ Premier League rivals SEE MORE Premier League All-Star game: reaction to Romelu Lukaku’s idea Earlier this month, Todd Boehly, the American billionaire co-owner of Chelsea, suggested that a team representing the north could meet the south in the Premier League, but “his suggestion for an English twist on the American format was widely criticised”, reported the BBC. However, reported The Times, Boehly’s idea was one of a number “kicked about” by club executives, who seem to prefer a combined Premier League side meeting their counterparts from rival leagues. Such contests “would surely have broadcasters and even fans salivating at the prospect”, said Metro, and the all-star match is “increasingly seen as an idea worth pursuing in order to grow audiences – particularly younger viewers – and enhance overseas TV rights”. ‘Evolution will come’ Staging such games across Europe or beyond in the summer months, or during a winter break, would be a way to “parade stars to expanding markets”, said The Times. Premier League sources also feel it could be a way to “keep growing audiences and enhancing overseas TV rights”, said the paper. Boehly, who is also part-owner of the LA Dodgers baseball team and basketball sides the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Sparks, said he hopes the Premier League “takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports”. He also pointed out the potential financial benefits of an all-star approach, saying that “in the MLB All-Star game this year we made $200m (£181m)”. Asked what fellow club owners would think about all-star games, he said: “Everyone likes the idea of more revenue for the league. There’s a real cultural aspect. I think evolution will come.” ‘Incredibly arrogant’ However, there’s little sign of such an evolution so far. “He’s only been here five minutes,” said Four Four Two of Boehly, and he is “being widely mocked” for his “bizarre comments on how the English game should be run”. Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, pointed out that the idea would add to the strain on elite players. “When he finds a date for that, he can call me,” Klopp said. “In American sports, these players have four-month breaks. Does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well?” Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher described the proposal as “incredibly arrogant”. Carragher, now a TV pundit, said that Boehly “is speaking about a league that he does not know”, reported Football 365. Carragher’s former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard said “the calendar is busy enough”. Now the boss of Aston Villa, Gerrard added: “It’s a nice, outside the box idea, but we’ve got enough to focus on.” Meanwhile, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has also come out against the idea, according to the BBC. “We don’t need to make football more colourful,” he said. “It is for me the most interesting sport,” he said.

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