Todd Boehly calls for All-Star game: “Ultimately I hope the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports, and really starts to figure out, why don’t we do a tournament with the bottom four sports teams, why isn’t there an All-Star game?"
Wednesday 14 September 2022 19:01, UK
Todd Boehly wants to launch a Premier League North versus South All-Star match, but Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was less than impressed with the suggestion, questioning whether anyone wants to see it.
The new Chelsea chairman has revealed plans to revolutionise elements of English football, to try to boost broadcasting revenue, including a play-off to determine who goes down and who plays in the Premier League, and an all-star game like the NBA and MLB have.
The Blues' new co-controlling owner, who also owns shares of Los Angeles teams the Dodgers in Major League Baseball and the Lakers in the NBA, told a New York conference he has already floated the idea with Premier League counterparts.
“Ultimately I hope the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports,” said Boehly. “And really starts to figure out, why don’t we do a tournament with the bottom four sports teams, why isn’t there an All-Star game?
“People are talking about more money for the pyramid, in the MLB All-Star game this year we made 200m dollars from a Monday and a Tuesday.
“So we’re thinking we could do a North versus South All-Star game for the Premier League, for whatever the pyramid needed quite easily.”
North: Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Wolves, Everton, Aston Villa, Forest, Leicester.
South: Arsenal, Tottenham, Brighton, Chelsea, Brentford, Fulham, Saints, Bmouth, Palace, West Ham
Chelsea were due to face Liverpool on Sunday but the game has been postponed with police resources stretched in the wake of the Queen's death.
Sunday's postponement, coming on the back of the wholesale postponement of the football calendar last weekend, means Liverpool have two matches to fit into an already-crowded schedule with a World Cup in the middle.
So Klopp was less-than-impressed with Boehly's suggestion earlier in the day that the Premier League should introduce a US-style All-Star game between teams in the north and south of England.
"He doesn't wait long. When he finds a date for that he can call me," he added. "He forgets in American sports these players have four-month breaks so they are quite happy they can do a little bit of sport in these breaks. It's completely different in football.
"Does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well?
"I'm surprised by the question so please don't judge my answers too much, but maybe he can explain it to me at one point and find a proper date. I'm not sure people want to see that. Imagine that, (Manchester) United, Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle players all on one team that's not the national team, just a north team. Interesting game.
"All the London guys together. Arsenal, Tottenham. Great. Did he really say it? Interesting."
Boehly was talking at the SALT thought leaders conference in New York, lifting the lid on Chelsea’s sacking of Thomas Tuchel as well as revealing bold plans for the Blues’ future.
When asked for his views on relegation given US sports do not engage with the idea – often leading to claims of teams ‘tanking’ for an improved draft pick – Boehly replied: “The economics of going into the Championship are materially different.
“When you go into the Championship those numbers fall off a cliff. So there’s no one thinking about tanking, and those relegation games are some of the highest broadcast games.”
When asked what his fellow football club owners think about the All-Star game idea, Boehly added: “Everyone likes the idea of more revenue for the league.
“I think there’s a real cultural aspect, I think evolution will come.”
Chelsea sacked Tuchel last week, after new owners Boehly and Behdad Eghbali conducted a 100-day review of their embryonic Blues tenure.
Graham Potter has been installed as the new head coach on a five-year contract, with Chelsea’s new chiefs determined to see a new manager at the helm for the long term.
Boehly admitted for the first time on record that Tuchel’s departure centred around differences of opinion and vision.
Tuchel steered Chelsea to the 2021 Champions League crown and the 2022 Club World Cup title, but the taskmaster German coach was unable to win over the Blues’ new owners.
“When you take over any business, you have to make sure you’re aligned with the people who are operating the business,” said Boehly.
“Tuchel is obviously extremely talented and someone who had great success at Chelsea. Our vision for the club was finding a manager who really wanted to collaborate with us, a coach who really wanted to collaborate.
“There are a lot of walls to break down at Chelsea. Before, the first team and academy didn’t really share data, didn’t share information about where the top players were coming from.
“Our goal is to bring a team together, all of that needs to be a well-oiled machine. The reality of our decision was that we weren’t sure that Thomas saw it the same way we saw it. No one is right or wrong, we just didn’t have a shared vision for the future.
“It wasn’t about [defeat to Dinamo] Zagreb, it was about the shared vision for what we wanted Chelsea to look like. It wasn’t a decision that was made because of a single win or loss. It was a decision that we thought was the right vision for the club.”
Chelsea will continue their search for a new sporting director, with an appointment likely before the World Cup starts.
Boehly also confirmed Chelsea’s plans to run a multi-club model, similar to Manchester City.
Boehly added: “We’re going to be continuously adding resources; we’ve talked about having a multi-club model. I would love to continue to build out the footprint.”