Criticism of new Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly continues to flow through major circles in football after ESPN’s Craig Burley levied strong feelings against the proposition of a Premier League all-star game.
The American billionaire has immediately shaken up the footballing landscape since he arrived at Stamford Bridge after sanctioning a massive spending spree that saw Chelsea shell out over £230m in a bid to get the club on track on both the domestic and European front, but while that spending has been heralded by many in the fanbase, Boehly has hardly endeared himself to the media and pundits after a series of early hiccups.
Boehly already came under fire for misidentifying Chelsea’s vaunted academy record while citing that both Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne were products of the Cobham pipeline, with further criticism now being directed at his championing of an all-star game.
An initial proposal featuring two all-star teams - one from northern PL clubs and one from southern outfits - was hardly well-received by many in media and supporters alike (though some lower down the football ladder backed the proposal), with it now coming out that Boehly is also leading the charge for a Premier League XI lining-up against their counterparts from the top leagues in Spain, Germany, Italy, and France.
And Craig Burley did not hold back in his distaste for the idea as the footballing calendar goes from one congestion hiccup to the next.
“Yeah, why don’t you have a round robin and get the top ones from Ligue 1, the top ones from Italy, the top ones from Spain...go down to the African continent and get all the ones from Africa, and then go to South America and have a round robin tournament. Let them all play! Don’t give anybody a rest!”
“They’ve already got the World Cup squeezed in November this year, we’ve just come off a pandemic, we have the Euro, we have all these other competitions. We have the Champions League, we now have the Europa Conference League, and we have games coming thick and fast. And I don’t feel sorry for players and managers...I don’t. Cause we’ve been there. I don’t feel sorry for them but you can’t just keep adding games. It’s not possible.”
“We’re all talking, and people with common sense are talking about how they can reduce the schedule slightly without eating into the finances, which are hugely important. But you just can’t keep adding these cheerleading games, which in the face of things look great, but in the truth of the matter, we just don’t have calendars for things like this.”
“We have players traveling all over, it’s a global game now. We have players traveling all over the world to play these internationals. We have seasons finishing and players going off, it might not be a World Cup but it will be a Copa America, it might not be a World Cup but it will be a Gold Cup...they’ll be something. And this is a global game now. These players are not getting much of a rest. We don’t need, I don’t think, this kind of nonsense popping up on the periphery of all these other important games that we have at the moment. It’s an utter nonsense.”