The first step in franchising Premier League football clubs

Anyone who is a real die hard football fan, be they supporters of Premier League teams or not, will see today's announcement by the Premier League that they want to have one game for each team played overseas every year as a slap in the face for real fans and nothing more than a money making venture to appeal to glory hunters in the far east.

With an increasing American ownership of Premier League teams, this is a first step on the road to franchising teams. The Premier League itself says cities will bid to host games. In many ways this is not dissimilar to the American football tradition of cities and corprations offering franchiss (or clubs as we would call them) lucrative deals to up sticks and move from one city to another. Ther is a long tradition of this in the US and it has left many US cities, including Los Angeles without teams at all as the franchise owners go seeking the biggest buck.

What will be next, China bidding to host Manchester United for good ? Perhaps Portsmouth is not big enough for the City of portsmouth and would make more money in Moscow ?

As for the logistics of the FA Premier league's plans, they have come up with an odd idea, which they believe to be fair, but nobody else will, which means an extra game will be played each year, with the draw made from a hat, with seeded teams being able to avoid each other. So in theory this means that "lower" teams face the prospect of another fixture against Arsenal or Macnhester United, whilst Arsenal and Chelsea know that they will not have a difficult game against one of the other "top" teams. It headly seems fair or equitable, but then again, the Premier League are not interested in the good of the game or fairness, only in making money.

Of course the big teams, the so called "big 4", will love this. They have armies of glory hunter fans around the world who know who Ronaldo, Rooney, Gerrard and Adebayor are, so they will turn up in their thousands to support their chosen "glory" team. For Liverpool, Arsenal, Macnhester United and Chelsea, this will, in essence, be another home game, with a big crown supporting them. Who though will turn up to chant for Wigan or Sunderland ? The seeding system couple with this will again mean a bias in the game which favours the top four teams.

And who misses out msot from this ? The loyal fan and season ticket holder who hasn't missed a game, home or away, in 20 years. The message from the Premier League is that if you are a real fan you don't count.

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