Following on Skip’s post of yesterday, it appears that the EPL may have been a bit hasty in announcing their international schedule, since FIFA, the world governing body, has announced that they will “look at” the EPL “proposal”, effectively claiming a right of veto. As I understand it, any national Association would have the right to veto teams from another Association scheduling league games in their country, and FIFA could enforce a global boycott.
But perhaps this is point. The EPL may want a confrontation with the governing body, since it has now become the main contender for the title of “global league”, taking over the mantle from G14. Remember them? They were the association of leading European clubs that threatened to form a breakaway league in 1998 and extracted significant financial concessions from UEFA in terms of sharing Champions League money. Until recently they were sponsoring a European Court case aimed at securing compensation for the release of players representing the national team. They have now done a deal with UEFA and FIFA who have agreed to set up a larger negotiating committee of clubs to handle these issues, together with some financial concessions. In exchange, G14 has agreed to wind itself up. It’s not hard to escape the conclusion that this is because the prospects of a breakaway European league are now remote given the dominance of the EPL, the new American owners, and their evident interest in exploiting the EPL’s commercial potential. If I were Joel Glazer, Randy Lerner, George Gillett or Tom Hicks, I might welcome a confrontation with the global powers in order to settle once and for all who’s in charge of the league and the players.
While we’re on the subject, bottom of the table Derby County have just been acquired by US based General Sports and Entertainment and apparently Steinbrenner has said he wants to buy Tottenham.