English Premiership

Premier League must strike right balance - Dein

2016-09-27 17:15
David Dein (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The Premier League must find a balance between continuing its global expansion and ensuring clubs satisfy the local fan base and keep their stadia full in an era of television dominance, former FA vice-chairman David Dein has said.

A 39th game played abroad has been suggested as the league, which is broadcast globally, tries to enhance its exposure and popularity overseas.

"There is a balance to be struck," Dein, attending the Soccerex Global Convention as an ambassador for the Premier League, told Reuters.

"The clubs want to promote themselves overseas, but you have to be careful you don't deny your fans the chance to see your team play.

"If, all of a sudden, they are playing in Sydney, you are not going to be able to make it to that game.

"In the bigger picture it is great exposure but the fans are the life and soul of the game and there must be a balance. It is not a concern that football will lose its soul; the passion is there and the stadia exude a great atmosphere."

However Dein said the Premier League is "not complacent" and is looking to explore new markets.

"People talk about China because of the massive population and it is an exploding market - they are increasingly involved in the Premier League now with ownership of clubs - but clubs are going all over the world on pre-season tours to promote themselves and television does it all for them," he said.

"The fact NBC in America shows every game simultaneously tells the story. Television makes people famous - people are wearing people Jamie Vardy shirts all over the world.

"Every league wants to be at the top. When I came into football in 1983 it was Italy, with England five or six. Now we are number one by a streak, the challenge is to stay there."

While the former Arsenal supremo does not favour the creation of a European Super League, he said he had previously been keen on the idea of Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers joining England's top flight.

"I'm opposed to a European Super League because we have that in a Champions League," he said.

"Anything that is elitist I am against because just because your name is Barcelona or Real Madrid or Bayern Munich or Arsenal you should not expect to join an elite group. You have to earn the right.

"Leicester was a Cinderella story in the Premier League last season and we want those stories.

"I once tried to promote Celtic and Rangers coming to the Premier League... but I can't see it happening because of the fear factor of clubs worrying about them coming to take their place."

Read more on:    english premiership  |  soccer
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