Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp mocks Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly’s idea for Premier League all-star game
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has mocked Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly’s proposal for the Premier League to introduce an all-star game similar to those featured in a variety of sports in the United States.
Boehly, who is also a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and completed a takeover of Chelsea earlier this year as head of a consortium alongside investment firm Clearlake Capital, suggested that a north versus south game could be used to benefit all levels of football in England.
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But when the idea was put to him following Liverpool’s 2-1 Champions League win over Ajax on Tuesday, Klopp was not overly enthusiastic.
“He doesn’t wait long,” Klopp said. “Great. When he finds a date for that, he can call me. He forgets that in the big sports in America, these players have four-month breaks.
“It is completely different in football. What can I say? Does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well and let them play against a football team?
“I am surprised by the question so please don’t judge my answer too much. But maybe he can explain it to me at some point and find a proper date.
“Not sure people want to see that. Imagine that: [Manchester] United players, Liverpool players, Everton players altogether in one team. It is not a national team. North against south. That means north east [too], Newcastle… interesting game. And all the London guys together, Arsenal, Tottenham, great. Did he really say it? Interesting.”
Boehly made his comments Tuesday during an appearance in New York at the SALT Conference, a global thought leadership and networking forum, while also suggesting a tournament be held to decide relegation to the championship.
“Ultimately I hope that the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports and really starts to figure out why wouldn’t we do a tournament with the bottom four teams, why isn’t there an all-star game?” he said.
“People are talking about more money for the pyramid — MLB [Major League Baseball] did their All-Star Game in L.A. this year, we made $200 million from a Monday and a Tuesday. You could do a north versus south all-star game for the Premier League to fund whatever the pyramid needed very easily.”
There has never been an all-star game in the Premier League and Boehly admitted that “there’s a cultural aspect that’s real,” though predicted “there’s going to be an evolution.”
Speaking on Chelsea specifically, Boehly revealed that his hope is for Chelsea to follow the examples of Manchester City‘s owners, City Football Group, and Red Bull by adopting a global multiclub model in order to aid the development of players.
“We’ve talked about having a multiclub model,” he said. “I would love to continue to build out the footprint. There’s different countries where there’s advantages to having a club.
“Our goal is to make sure we can show pathways for our young superstars to get onto the Chelsea pitch while getting them real game time. For me, the way to do that is through another club in a really competitive league in Europe.”
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Chelsea’s new owners have already made their first big decision since taking charge, firing Thomas Tuchel as manager last week and appointing former Brighton boss Graham Potter.
And Boehly said the decision was ultimately about his holistic vision for the club.
“When you take over any business you just have to make sure that you’re aligned with the people that are operating the business,” he said.
“I think Tuchel is obviously extremely talented and somebody who had great success at Chelsea. Our vision for the club was finding a manager who really wanted to collaborate — a coach who really wanted to collaborate.
“Our goal is to really bring a team together, with the academy, with the first team, with the incremental clubs that we want to acquire and develop.
“All of that needs to be a well-oiled machine. And the reality of our decision is that we just weren’t sure that Thomas saw it the same way we saw it. No one’s right or wrong, we just didn’t have a shared vision for the future.”