A North vs South Premier League ‘All Star’ match has been touted by the owner of Chelsea as a potential revenue spinner for the entire English football pyramid.
Todd Boehly, the American businessman who led the consortium that completed a £4.25billion takeover of the Blues earlier this year, was speaking at the SALT conference in New York about his thoughts on the current set-up.
Other ideas include a mini-tournament between the bottom four teams in the league each season to determine relegation but the ‘All Star’ idea is the one that has gained the most attention, most of it negative.
Here is what the Chelsea owner said, the immediate reaction from and the history of ‘All Star’ matches explained:
What is an ‘All Star’ match?
‘All Star’ games are popular exhibition fixtures in several American sports with Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association the most notable.
The matches see the best players from across the division come together to face each other in a one off, friendly encounter.
The National Hockey League and National Football League also run similar fixtures while the Major League Soccer ‘All Star Game’ sees the best players from that league take on a high profile club side or another ‘All Star’ team.
In recent years the MLS All Stars have faced the Liga MX All-Stars in the annual fixture but they have previously played Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Everton and West Ham as well as top European sides like Juventus, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Todd Boehly’s idea for the Premier League would see a team of players from the ‘North’ clubs like Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool taking on players from clubs in the ‘South’ such as London based teams, Brighton and Southampton.
What did Chelsea owner Todd Boehly say about Premier League ‘All Star’ game?
Boehly, who only took over Chelsea earlier this year, wants to see the Premier League follow the example of sporting institutions from across the Atlantic.
He said: “‘I hope the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports and really starts to figure it out.
“Why wouldn’t we do a tournament with the bottom four teams? Why isn’t there an All-Star game?
“You could do a North vs South All-Star game in the Premier League and fund whatever the pyramid needed very easily.
“Everyone likes the idea of more revenue for the League.”
“It is completely different in football” - Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reacts
The Chelsea owner’s comments were met with a sarcastic response from Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp.
The German said: “‘He forgets that in the big sports in America, these players have four-month breaks and they are quite happy they can do a little bit of sport in these breaks. It is completely different in football.
“What can I say? Does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well and let them play against a football team?”
However, the German did not totally dismiss the concept, adding: “I am surprised by the question so please don’t judge my answers too much. Maybe he can explain it to me at one point and find a proper date.
“I’m not sure people want to see that. Imagine that - United players, Liverpool players, Everton players all together on one team.
“It’s not the national team, it’s just the north-west and the north-east together and the south? Ok, north versus south means north-east and Newcastle. Interesting game.
“And all the London guys together - Arsenal, Tottenham, great. Did he really say it? Great”