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A Premier League All-Star Game: Would You Want To See It?

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Last year of course English football was rocked after re-hearing about Premier League chief Richard Scudamore’s plan to create a ‘39th game’ that would be added to the already gruelling fixture list.

The idea in short was that every club would have to play an additional regular-season fixture which would be played abroad in a number of cities across the globe.

Scudamore’s idea first proposed in 2008 was widely looked down upon by the FA and FIFA. Staging a 39th game was first thought up as a way of capitalising on the league’s international popularity and generating even more money into the league’s clubs.

Many believed that the idea was also inspired by the fact that the League had seen the success that the NFL had achieved in hosting regular season games at Wembley Stadium. There is no doubt that the four games at Wembley have generated a huge amount of interest in American football in the country.

Football of course is a more universal sport than American Football, so there’s no doubt if the Premier League were to stage games abroad they would probably generate more interest across the globe than the NFL games have done in London.

Aside from some fans suggesting that the ’39th game’ was nothing but a mockery and that it would understandably beak tradition in the English game, there was another problem that fans didn’t like about the idea.  Playing an additional game would obviously create an ‘unbalanced schedule’ which would certainly create problems.

No one can speculate of course where in the fixture schedule the 39th game would slot in and whether or not the league would have to set up a winter break to have accommodated it or not in enabling time for the players to rest coming back from a long trip overseas. What can be speculated of course is just how vital the points in those additional fixtures would be.

For instance if a club battling at the bottom at random drew us or Chelsea in a game in Boston and lost the game whilst another team battling at the bottom played a fellow relegation contender and won – there’s no doubt that the club in question would be blaming the additional fixture for their relegation if they were to go down.

One solution that the Premier League might be thinking about in terms of staging a game abroad might be to have an ‘All Star’ game.  Rio Ferdinand on Twitter the other week suggested the idea

Ferdinand of course like the rest of our squad is currently on tour in America for our pre-season and obviously inspired by the MLB all-star game, proposed the idea of a Premier League all-star game.

He tweeted: “Baseball All-Star game tonight, tv coverage is quality. We need a PL All-Star game too… the powers that be let’s talk + develop this…”

And he added: “Replace the Community Shield with #premierleagueallstarteam?”

Whilst I do not like the idea of scrapping the Community Shield, which has always been an important curtain raiser for the season, I will just briefly dwell on it before talking about an All-Star Team.

The Community Shield is certainly something that could be moved away from Wembley Stadium. In fact next year’s game will be played at another venue due to the staging of the London 2012 Olympic football tournament.

Perhaps it might not be a bad idea for the FA to rotate this fixture around the top grounds in the country, in the way that England games were played at a number of grounds whilst the new Wembley was being built.  Again this might upset some fans that would prefer to see their team play at Wembley, but again it’s just a thought.

It might be an idea though to play the Community Shield abroad every 2-3yrs (obviously with the agreement of the teams involved) as Italian football chiefs have staged the Supercoppa Italiana abroad.

 The curtain raiser to the Italian Serie A season has had success in America and China (where it is due to be held again next month) so perhaps it could be something the FA and Premier League might want to think about.

Getting back to Rio’s tweet about an All-Star team, it would be interesting to see just how this idea would work.  Would the game be split up between the best players from the North and the South compromising a North vs. South game?

Would it be an idea to field a Home-grown team against a Foreign team? Would it be an idea perhaps for the Premier League holders to face a team made up of the best of the rest, so to speak?

Another point worth thinking about would be how the squads would be selected. It would therefore be a great idea if fans would be able to have their say in the selections, which would no doubt create even more interest and debate amongst fans.

Players and managers should also have their say too; after all it’s only fair if they do as well. There’s no reason why the PFA could not get involved and perhaps votes in the PFA Awards could count as All-Star votes. Managers could also get involved and the managerial positions for both sides could get chosen by the LMA for example.

What would you as fans like to see from a Premier League All-Star game? How do you think the teams should be split up and decided by? More importantly though, would an All-Star game be of benefit to the Premier League and English football?

All these questions are certainly talking-points that we all as football fans should definitely consider. There’s no reason why an All-Star game wouldn’t in theory be a good thing for the game.

By @ADennehey87