Chelsea owner and chairman Todd Boehly has proposed a Premier League All-Star game with funds distributed to the lower tiers of English football.
The All-Star game, a staple of American sports in some form or another, is not a concept that has had any great traction across the Atlantic. The nearest the Premier League has come to anything approximating it was a 2007 television show in which celebrities, former players and supporters lined up for their favored club in televised exhibition games on satellite television. Premier League All-Stars was not commissioned for a second series.
In 2018, then-Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku also proposed an All-Star game with the same North vs. South teams that Boehly has suggested as a mean of raising money for clubs in the English Football League (EFL). Speaking at the Salt Conference, he said: "Ultimately, I hope the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson out of the American sports teams and really start to think about why don't we do a tournament with the bottom four teams.
"People are talking about why don't we have more money for the pyramid? MLB did their All-Star Game this year. They made $200 million from a Monday and a Tuesday. You could do a North vs South All-Star game from the Premier League to fund the pyramid very easily."
(If one might very briefly allow oneself to editorialize, this is an idea that the Premier League absolutely ought to embrace. It is that most radical of concepts that English sport is so traditionally hesitant over: A bit of fun. And the logistical hurdles are at best minimal. Replace the Community Shield with an All-Star game from the best players of last season. Pilfer the NBA's idea for the best players to pick their teams. Happy days.)
Boehly, who was the figurehead of the consortium that purchased Chelsea from Roman Abramovich in May, also revealed that he and his partners have a "multi-club model" in mind. "I want to continue building out the footprint. I think there's different countries where there's advantages to having a club."
It has not taken long for Boehly and his partners at Clearlake Capital to make a mark at Stamford Bridge. Less than 100 days after their takeover was finalized,, . In the aftermath of that decision, Chelsea sources indicated that there had been that ultimately compelled the latter to act. Boehly became the first individual to publicly spell that out, indicating that the 49-year-old did not share his vision for a collaborative working environment.
"When you take over any business, you have to make sure you're aligned with the people who are operating the business," said Boehly. "Tuchel is obviously extremely talented and someone who had great success at Chelsea. Our vision for the club was to find a manager who really wanted to collaborate with us, a coach who really wanted to collaborate.
"There are a lot of walls to break down at Chelsea. Before [we arrived], the first team and academy didn't really share data, didn't share information about where the top players were coming from. Our goal is to bring a team together; all of that needs to be a well-oiled machine.
"The reality of our decision was that we weren't sure that Thomas saw it the same way we saw it. No one is right or wrong, we just didn't have a shared vision for the future. It wasn't about Zagreb, it was about the shared vision for what we wanted Chelsea to look like. It wasn't a decision that was made because of a single win or loss. It was a decision that we thought was the right vision for the club."