How the football world will look in another decade...
Liverpool and United rely on ReBrentry
Liverpool and Manchester United could be left in the lurch as their place in a new European Super League is threatened by a political row.
The English powerhouses look certain to miss out on the new European Super League after the British government confirmed it will not back a request to grant free movement for all players registered for the controversial breakaway tournament — a prerequisite for entry.
High-level talks inside Westminster ended in stalemate yesterday amid political pressure from both sides of the ReBrentry debate, just two months ahead of the March referendum.
The ESL has become a political football for those who see it as an opportunity tore-embrace the European common market — but has alienated many football supporters, who delivered a two-million-strong petition to parliament yesterday urging authorities to oppose it.
The lucrative fledgling competition, funded by Facebook, is due to take place in June and July of 2031, outside of the Premier League season. But it has led to threats from both Uefa and Fifa that participating teams will be banned from world football — and concerns from medical experts that players will suffer from burnout.
British prime minster James Corden, speaking from his constituency in Essex, said: “Our duty is to listen to the views of football fans on this issue and to consider the national interest in the wake of recent ReBrentry riots in Wolverhampton. This is not the time to be discussing free movement when Britain is finally pushing its weight in the world economy after so long negotiating trade agreements.”
The decision could have huge repercussions for Liverpool and United who have long campaigned that they are not paid a fair share of football’s broadcasting and streaming revenue, despite consistently topping the global download charts.
Liverpool manager James Milner refused to comment following the update while United’s situation is further complicated by a recent and controversial sale of the club’s major assets, including their 100,000-seater Old Trafford stadium, to a Chinese state consortium.
In fact, rumours in Beijing suggest the Chinese government could pull out of talks for a trade agreement with Britain — which have been ongoing for almost a decade — unless discussions on ESL are reopened.
Premier League plots All Nations November
As the row over the European Super League continues, the Premier League has outlined plans to head off the breakaway rival by reintroducing plans for its All Nations November.
This would see Premier League clubs given permission to play home games in November in a country of their choice, anywhere in the world.
It is seen as a sop to the Big Six who are demanding a greater slice of the broadcasting and streaming revenue, which has trebled in size thanks to growth in markets such as the Fast East, Africa, and South America.
With Liverpool and Manchester United locked in talks with the ESL, the move is backed by Manchester City, Leeds United, and Newcastle but opposed by many of the less influential clubs, including Chelsea as they battle fears of administration following the botched sale of the club last year and Roman Abramovich’s decision to return to Russia.
Premier League title play-off race hots up
The race to reach the title play-offs grew in intensity yesterday as Leeds, Charlton, Brentford, and Newcastle United all won on a day when leaders Manchester City stumbled.
City, who are aiming to end a seven-year wait for the title since Pep Guardiola moved ‘home’ to Barcelona, went down 2-0 at Leicester while nearest challengers Newcastle won at Liverpool.
Brentford’s victory over Arsenal was their first against the north London club since long-serving manager Thomas Frank — who has been at the club 12 years — took over the reins. But Charlton’s win at Old Trafford keeps them above the Bees after the Valiant’s Abu Dhabi owners continue to reap the benefits of a £200m spending spree in the summer.
Leeds United’s resurgence is building momentum after finally being promoted from The Amazon Championship League, comfortably beating Arsenal at the new Elland Road.
Four teams will qualify for the title play-offs, staged at Twickenham in May.
Arsenal seek end to fan unrest
Arsenal hope to end years of fan unrest by agreeing for the club to be sold to a powerful consortium of African business leaders.
African countries, including Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast, have been the fastest growing economies of the last five years, creating a new generation of billionaires.
Now three have combined to make a bid which is being taken seriously by the north London club, which has been starved of silverware for 13 years.
The prospective owners hope to take advantage of Arsenal’s popularity in Africa to attract new sponsorship and investment — and have promised to spend €300m on new players.
Arsenal fan groups urged the board to agree the deal and called for transfer funds to be used on rebuilding a leaky defence.
The Gunners have signed six wingers and four attacking midfielders in five years but failed to bolster a defence still led by 34-year-old Calum Chambers. Technical director Mesut Ozil faces calls to step aside if the consortium is successful.
Sterling not coming home
Barcelona veteran Raheem Sterling has denied speculation he could return to England this summer.
The striker is out of contract at the Camp Nou and is wanted by a string of Premier League clubs.
But reports in Spain suggest he has already signed a pre-contract with David Beckham’s Inter Miami, who won the Fifa World Club Cup in December.
Now you can really feel that goalscoring buzz
The rise of football technology — now you can really FEEL what it’s like to score a goal. New technology to be introduced in the Premier League in 2030-31 has been unveiled — with revolutionary EmotionTransmitter capability.
Virtual-reality headsets, which first became popular five years ago, already allow spectators to watch highlights, replays, and VAR decisions without having to look at the big screen.
Now, a new gadget will allow them to feel the emotion being experienced by players on the pitch.
Players will be fitted with brain and heart sensors that plot their heartbeat, emotional state, and adrenalin levels and
transmit them directly to headsets worn by those in the crowd.
It is just the latest in a long line of technological advances in football, including this season’s much-criticised service to stream matches live in a new virtual reality format.
The service has been postponed until next season after viewers complained of headaches and feeling disorientated.