The Premier League is probably the most watched domestic football competition in the world but could we make improvements to it that make it more watchable or even help the English game generally? Using influences from US sports especially here are a few we could adopt:
Salary cap in the USA means the sporting organisation are not over stretched and live within their means. It would be great to implement this to football with the gross wages played at the top level but due to the ownership structures it’s not going too. To protect our young players from their own egos and clutches of money grabbers everywhere setting a rookie contract structure would no doubt help. Issuing a wage level for all contracts for players 22 or younger could no doubt help maintain a level of hunger to actually succeed playing football rather than considering it a success to just hold a pro contract. Inserting clauses within these contracts relating for instance making a player a free agent if they do not participate in a percentage of games would again stop a lot of loans or general squad players. Creating hungry young players to play would no doubt help the national team and more importantly the young players themselves rather than clubs like Chelsea or Man City stock piling youth for a rainy day.
Premier League Structure
This season the top 2 sides are going to reach 90 points +, end up at least 15 points higher than 3rd with the 6th placed side over 13 points away from 7th. It’s been discussed for a while their are 3 mini leagues in the Premier League, how can we stop this because the way it’s going entry to the top 6 is only going to get harder, if not impossible. Increasing the Premier League to 32 teams could help the national game in so many ways:
- Create 2 conferences like US Sports of 16 teams each
- Teams in those conferences play twice a season meaning a 30 game season, already less league games than now.
- Playoff system to determine the winners of the Premier League so top 6 in each conference would take part.Top 2 receive a bye, 3rd v 6th & 4th v 5th play then the winners play the top 2 with 1st playing lowest ranked team and 2nd the other team. From there 2 teams play in conference final and finally the 2 conference winners play in the Premier League Final. Thus meaning the winning team at most would play 4 additional games, still less than the current league season.
- Rivalling the SuperBowl or Champions League final this could be week long event, held in different cities/grounds every year and incorporate hall of fame ceremonies, player of the year awards making it like one big football event.
- We could still incorporate relegation and promotion by having the bottom 2 from each conference going down to a new EFL setup.
- To help the lower leagues they would be split into North and South leagues and each one linked to one of the Premier League conferences. This would help smaller clubs financially (travel costs) but maintain local rivalry games.
- The 2 conferences based on the Premier League and Top 12 in the Championship could look like this:
|6||West Ham Utd||6||Bournemouth|
|11||Leeds Utd||11||Norwich City|
|12||W Brom||12||Sheff Utd|
Saturday and Sunday fixtures could be alternated between each conference each week.
The gap between the top sides and the bottom would be huge but the new fixtures created would serve those fan bases so well plus encourage clubs to reassess their thought process when hiring staff or players, maybe thinking of the future? If the Rookie Contract idea was taken on young players could be distributed more evenly almost like the draft system in the USA.
Do we really need this competition? Top sides treat it as a reserve cup and if the structure of the game changed like I just mentioned the games will continue to be lacking in appeal/hindrance on the season. To replace the League Cup a fun tournament like a 6 a side competition held over one weekend a season for all League Clubs could work. Super League hold Magic Weekend where all teams play their league game at the same ground and works. Keep the Europa League spot for the winners thus creating a opportunity for any club to qualify. Relating to the fixture volume in this country if we could incorporate a mid season break the tournament could take place during that time therefore maintaining our need for 24/7 football.
VAR is coming and I feel the game needs it, like all new things its going to take time for us to understand but in the end the correct decisions will be made. To help VAR for instance like tennis, cricket and american football having an option for a Coaches Challenge could cut our some of the needless reviews. Refs could only use VAR for offside, ball out of play and red card decisions. For penalty decisions VAR would not be used unless a coaches challenge is made, maybe limiting them to 1 a half. If it’s a success the coach keeps it but if not then it’s lost, by doing this hopefully they would be used correctly.
Premier League Network
This year I have subscribed to the NFL network and it is amazing. This leads me to think why are we not selling our product like this? Sky, BT and the clubs are pricing fans out of the game and to me if you cannot watch your team it should be made available to armchair fans at a more reasonable price. If we stopped selling the rights to TV companies and run our own network at a subscription cost of £25 a month it would be reasonable price and encourage more subscribers than SKY or BT currently hold. Like the NFL 1 or 2 games a week could be made available to terrestrial TV so the masses could watch. Also though currently we see the same faces working in front of the camera but with a 24 subscription network more content would be needed and those ex players who want to get into media could have a platform. Good Morning Football and Redzone (like Soccer Saturday) are 2 of the standout shows on the NFL Network which we could replicate quite easily.
I started by discussing rookie contracts but another financial matter which needs to be addressed is the value of transfer fees. The amounts of money are scandalous and its ridiculous when discussing transfer fees down the pub you find yourself saying “he’s worth at least £50m”!!!! Come on no one is worth that amount as a footballer but this is the football society we live in. To help counteract these fees it would be nice see more swaps or as they are called in US Sports, trades. I liked the Sanchez to Man Utd transfer as it held elements of a trade with Mkhitaryan going the other way plus some cash. 2 bitter rivals facilitated the deal for the players as much as themselves, win win situation. If Man Utd want Wan Bissaka then instead of cash why can’t the deal be about players, Mata & Dalot in exchange? Man City want Zaha then they send Mahrez, Zinchenko and a youth player in exchange?
Most of the above is a pipe dream and their are other ideas like All Star games (which probably wouldn’t work in England) but I feel nothing gets better without trying to improve, stagnating is not the answer in life.
What do you make of this? Let us know in the comments below!