Jurgen Klopp and Ally McCoist have reacted after new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly suggested England could have an all-star ‘north vs south’ match to boost funds.
A Boehly-led consortium took ownership of Chelsea in late May. They have completed an overhaul at Stamford Bridge since then, with several senior officials leaving. This includes Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech.
The new owners have also made big changes to the coaching staff. Thomas Tuchel was sacked recently and replaced with impressive English manager Graham Potter, as well as his group of coaches.
The 47-year-old will be in the Chelsea dugout for the first time when they come up against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League tonight (Wednesday).
Boehly hasn’t just made changes to Chelsea, he has also suggested improvements to the English game.
At a recent conference, the American put forward a new relegation idea. He thinks the four lowest teams in the Premier League should compete in a mini tournament to decide who goes down.
Boehly also proposed a ‘north vs south’ all-star game, similar to the ones which happen in the NBA and NFL. This would see players from the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool take on their counterparts from Chelsea and Arsenal.
“Ultimately I hope the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports,” Boehly said.
Boehly has relegation idea
“And really starts to figure out, why don’t we do a tournament with the bottom four sports teams, why isn’t there an All-Star game?
“People are talking about more money for the pyramid, in the MLB All-Star game this year we made 200 million dollars from a Monday and a Tuesday.
“So we’re thinking we could do a north versus south All-Star game for the Premier League, for whatever the pyramid needed, quite easily.”
But Boehly’s comments have been met with criticism. Following Liverpool’s victory over Ajax last night, Reds boss Klopp said (via Metro): “He doesn’t hesitate, he doesn’t wait long!
“Great. When he finds a date for that he can call me. He forgets that in the big sports in America, these sports have four-month breaks so they’re quite happy they can do a little bit of sport in these breaks. It’s completely different in football.
“Does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well and let them play a football team?
“I’m surprised by the question so please don’t judge my answers too much, but maybe he can explain it to me at one point.”
Klopp continued: “I’m not sure people want to see that. Imagine that, [Man] United, Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle players all on one team that’s not the national team, just a north team. Interesting game.
“All the London guys together. Arsenal, Tottenham. Great. Did he really say it? Interesting.”
McCoist sides with Jurgen Klopp
Former Rangers and Scotland star McCoist also slammed Boehly’s suggestion, urging him to focus on Chelsea instead.
“Just get Chelsea sorted out mate,” he said on talkSPORT (05/09, 3:49pm). “Get me supporting my team again, watching good football. Just leave [north vs south] alone, please.
“Don’t get involved in this whole relegation thing. With the greatest of respect, you’ve not done a number two in the place yet and you’re trying to change things, calm down.
“Get Chelsea sorted out and we’ll be delighted. Let’s move on.”
McCoist hits the nail on the head. Boehly has only been in England for a matter of months and is already trying to make big changes to the English game.
He has other things to sort out, such as ensuring Potter’s spell in west London is successful. Chelsea also need to catch up with Manchester City if they are to win the Premier League again.
Jurgen Klopp brings up some very good points too. The summer break for players is short enough as it is. Imagine trying to fit in some all-star games as well. This would mean the players essentially get no time off.
It is good that Boehly is thinking about ways to enrich the wider football pyramid, and not just the Prem. But more thought needs to be put into his ideas because the FA will not simply follow America’s lead.