Blog#30 – La Middle East Liga?

Here we are again. Another day, another story about how the clubs who have it all, want more. Do I complain too much? Yes. But it’s to serve a purpose. It’s to inform people about how decisions made by those in charge, generally greedy old men, negatively affect your average football fan. Let me try to explain.

Barcelona’s ‘el presidente’, Josep Maria Bartomeu, believes that multiple La Liga matches should be played outside of Spain, and in doing so is an act of respect to the international supporters. Bartomeu is somewhat correct. FC Barcelona is one of the most successful clubs in the world, and because of its success, it is one of the most supported clubs in the world. The fan base is enormous, (the band-wagoners I like to call them), and by giving these international fans the opportunity to watch their heroes in the flesh, Bartomeu is showing them respect. But, it comes with a hefty price tag.

So what about Barcelona’s local supporters? Those who turn up to every single match, rain, snow, hail or sunshine. What do they get out of this deal? Especially those who have paid somewhere in the region of €150 to €1100 for season tickets. Will Bartomeu be flying each season ticket holder out to the Middle East, Asia or the US on his private jet so they can watch the game that they paid season passes to watch? Absolutely fucken not.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that one of the more popular football leagues have attempted to move their domestic league games to another country. The English Premier League had plans to introduce a round 39, (the international round), to their regular season. Each of these games would be played in different countries around the world. Thankfully, this was met with an instant backlash from supporters, players and FIFA, who condemned the idea, as it would completely destroy the traditional home and away round robin style league, while also taking games away from the local supporters. The life blood of the club.

The idea of playing league games abroad is motivated, in my opinion, (and some facts), by clubs wanting to increase their revenue streams and help line their already overflowing pockets with more coloured paper. The fact that clubs were, and still are, willing to turn their backs on their supporters for the chance of a little bit of extra revenue shows a complete lack of respect to those who turn up every single day and pay their hard earned cash to watch their beloved team.

If we keep allowing these greedy old men run and direct our game in the way they see fit, we will end up with an exclusive ‘super league’ where the clubs funded by oil tycoons around the world would play each other at half empty stadiums in the Middle East. Oh wait, this is already happening. I have written about this before. Am I just repeating myself constantly? Maybe. But how else are we going to get the point across to these gluttonous football owners that it’s not money that creates a football club, (to an extent). It’s the fans that follow it. Day in, day out.

Thankfully, the fans are not alone in their views on these idiotic decisions. This year was supposed to see FC Barcelona play Girona FC in Miami, (of all places), but the proposal was dropped after the Royal Spanish Football Federation and FIFA were against the plan to move Girona’s home game to the US state. It comes as no surprise that part owners of the Girona FC, the City football group, were all for this plan.

Ok, enough complaining,(for this blog anyway), it’s time for a proposed solution. Firstly, make it affordable and easier for international viewers to stream domestic league games. This could be done by removing the current horrific television rights and replacing it with a central streaming service, just like the NFL and NBA have done. Secondly, continue to play exhibition style competitions during pre-season in other countries. But make it affordable for fans. Charging exorbitant prices for a friendly is just ridiculous and completely disrespectful to the international supporters.

The notion that you’re ‘respecting’ the fans with decisions like this Bartomeu is completely ridiculous. I hope that your attempt to turn the most successful clubs in the world into a members only group is met with pitch forks and not more coloured paper.

Do I complain too much?

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