Britain: EPL football teams run up debts of $4.91bn

So was it right to create the Premier League, when now it's harder for England to form a squad?

There was always something slightly strange about the Football Association's decision in 1992 to create the English Premier League.  As the FA shifted top clubs out of the First Division into a new League, it relaxed rules on who could play in the teams.  In 1992 just eleven players were foreigners, yet seven years later Chelsea became the first club to field an entirely foreign line-up. The problem was compounded by a need to recruit less expensive international talent.  The government Home Office, rather than the FA, tightened things up in 1999 by making non-EU work permits harder to get.  But that didn't stop European footballers transferring to English clubs.  Reporting on EPL player origins, the BBC says "today there are 300 from more than 60 countries."

All this was seen by many as an attraction.  Whichever your home nation, there's someone from your country playing in the most watched and supported football league in the world.  The EPL had gone global, and "now the Premier League generates more than £2bn a year, almost double its closest European rival, La Liga in Spain" reports the BBC.  Clubs have enjoyed a "massive increase in revenue over the past 20 years, especially from TV rights. Yet between them they have debts of over £3bn (US$4.91bn) and most struggle to turn a profit"  the British broadcaster continues.  As success in the TV ratings war stimulated club managers to sign-up ever more expensive players, so debts mounted up.

The EPL is becoming a victim of its own success.

Many EPL clubs have foreign managers, too many have owners from abroad, and English players struggle to gain entry into the teams.  No wonder England finds it hard to win international trophies like the UEFA European Football Championship and FIFA World Cup.

Was it all worth it?  If the reason for creating the Premier League was to generate profit, and all that has resulted is a series of loss-making operations, surely not.  As England struggles to compete with the world at association football, a game it invented in the 8th Century and refined in the 19th, the FA might like to think again about its rule book.  Surely, its most important responsibility is the development of the game in England, from youth and amateur to top professional clubs.  And ultimately the ability of the nation to form a world-beating team.

England hasn't won the World Cup since 1966.  It appears the FA has much to answer for.

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