Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Wednesday 10 August 2016

Football; the new religion?

Whether you like football or not, it surely cannot be denied that the sport has captured the imagination of the world like no other. International companies have recognised the appeal of the English Premier League and bought a stake, using the world-wide appeal of teams like Liverpool and Manchester United to promote global brands. West Bromwich Albion are the latest Club to be taken over by a Chinese Company wanting to latch on to an internationally recognised name.
Although Countries around the world have their own teams and leagues, nothing compares with the iconic names of the top English Clubs. This popular following suggests to me that football, in particular the Premier League, is the new religion, with its icons (strips and scarves), saints (players) and creed (rules). Religion is no longer the 'opium of the people' as argued by Karl Marx; football is.

But what next? What happens when a Club is relegated? Will it be allowed to happen if a Company's massive investment is at risk? A Company buys into a Premier League Club only to find that the fixture list is not Arsenal or Chelsea but Burton or Dagenham and Redbridge, negatively affecting, for instance, share price.
In the future. will the really big clubs, owned by mega companies become dissatisfied with the Premier League populated by Hull and Everton and move to form an elite league that will consist of the top teams in Europe, like Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Already the core home fans are being disadvantaged. Matches do not universally kick off at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon as before. Now matches are played at the behest of broadcasters meeting needs in five continents across many time zones, bringing the top Clubs huge fortunes in revenue. The rewards for success are so great that failure cannot be countenanced. The Clubs faced with this competition buy the top players paying massive amount of transfer fees and offering obscene rates of pay. Manchester United have recently paid Juventus £100m for Pogba, a British record fee but this record won't last for long as Clubs compete for the best. If we continue at this rate , polarisation will mean that England will have maybe six mega clubs, with the others fighting out for devalued domestic competitions.
It is impossible to see where this is going beyond ever increasing globalisation. Even the United States has joined the bandwagon with increasing interest and investment in LA Galaxy and New York City.
Maybe; just maybe this polarisation will mean that the top clubs will go off and do their thing and leave a rump of Clubs that belong to a different time; Clubs that recognise the need for genuine fans and maintain a playing staff that can be afforded by ordinary people.

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