LIVERPOOL, UK –
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has resisted a suggestion from Chelsea’s new American owners that the Premier League could introduce an all-star game between the best North and South players.
At the SALT conference, held in New York on Tuesday, Todd Boehly said he hoped the Premier League could “learn a little bit from American sport” and host an all-star game that would raise money for clubs who are inferior to English football Pyramid.
The idea was put to Klopp later in the day after Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Ajax in the Champions League and the Germany manager scoffed at it.
“What can I say – does he want to get the Harlem Globetrotters too and play them against a football team?” said Klopp.
Klopp’s main problem was that there was no room for such a game in an already crowded football calendar.
“If he finds an appointment for that, he can call me,” he said. “He forgets that in the major sports in America these players have four months off, so they’re pretty happy they can do a little bit of exercise during those breaks. It’s completely different in football.”
The MLB, NBA, and NHL all host an all-star game in the middle of their season. The NFL’s counterpart – the Pro Bowl – now takes place on the Sunday before the Super Bowl.
Boehly, who is a part owner in MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers and shares in the NBA’s LA Lakers, has made his presence felt since he chaired the consortium of businessmen who bought Chelsea in May for £2.5million (£3.2billion at the time). US dollars) bought.
Boehly, who appointed himself chairman and interim sporting director, oversaw a record $300 million new player spending spree in Europe’s summer transfer window. Then, just seven games into Chelsea’s season, Boehly sacked manager Thomas Tuchel and replaced him with Brighton’s Graham Potter.
With many leading teams – Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and now Chelsea – being owned by Americans, it was perhaps inevitable that ideas with a nod to US sport would creep into English football.
Just last year, these four teams, along with Manchester City and Tottenham, along with clubs from Italy and Spain, tried to help create a breakaway European Super League.
The proposal fell through within 48 hours as English clubs withdrew after their supporters escalated and the British government warned legislation could be introduced to thwart it.
Boehly’s idea is far less radical but would also change the status quo of English football’s traditional calendar, which is already packed due to the presence of two domestic cup competitions to go alongside the 20-team Premier League.
Klopp has been an outspoken critic of the demands placed on players due to the increasing number of club and national team games played throughout the year. This season, for the first time, the World Cup will take place in the middle of an English league.
Klopp also questioned whether “people want to see” combined North-South teams essentially bringing rival clubs together.
“Imagine that – (Manchester) United players, Liverpool players, Everton players, all together in one team,” he said.
“So all Londoners together?” added Klopp. “Arsenal and Tottenham. Great. Did he really say that? Interesting.”
Boehly also raised the possibility of a “bottom four tournament” – presumably in reference to the Premier League relegation battle – but did not elaborate when speaking as a guest at the SALT conference.