Football May Need A Regulatory Solution To The EPL Problem. Celtic Should Be Watching.

Image for Football May Need A Regulatory Solution To The EPL Problem. Celtic Should Be Watching.

With the closure of the transfer window in England, the cost is being counted.

But not in that league, awash in money with more than half of the clubs in the hands of mercenary, foreign owners, but rather across the rest of European football which in terms of spending power risks being turned into a wasteland.

The EPL is the centre of football gravity. No league was ever supposed to be this powerful or this wealthy at the expense of the rest of the game. Some national associations have a small number of dominant teams, and we never hear the end of how unhealthy that is … but this is a problem many degrees of magnitude worse than that.

On TalkSport today, they batted away any suggestions that the other leagues of Europe have anything to moan about. But the head of La Liga has said that what’s happening amounts to financial doping. The talking heads of English radio dismissed the claim saying that Germany, Italy and Spain all had their time … now it’s their turn.

But this casual dismissal of the problem doesn’t come close to acknowledging the size or scale of what we’re talking about here.

The EPL spent more in the January window than the French, German, Spanish and Italian leagues spent combined … and that was never the case when any of these national competitions ruled the roost.

This is an aberration.

Total spending from EPL clubs came to close to £1 billion, in the window where traditionally not a lot of deals get done.

The head of La Liga mis-spoke once during this statement, when he called it “the British leagues.” But see, he told more truth there than perhaps he ought, because he’s gotten to the heart of the problem and maybe even the root of the solution.

The Super League project grew out of the EPL’s vast spending power, and the impact it was having on top flight leagues elsewhere.

If you class the EPL “product” as something “Made in Britain” then Brexit affords European leagues an opportunity to lobby the Brussels parliament to make it harder for them to sell their product to other European countries, especially if that product harms their internal markets. I guarantee you that somewhere someone is working on that piece of legislation right now.

And we have our own parliament here and if it’s unable to pass laws that protect our national game then the solution might lie in Westminster as part of this “UK dividend” we all hear so much guff about. The situation here is complex because we’re part of a UK market but this product only benefits one part of the country … and that’s just plain wrong.

I’ll tell you this; if English football continues to have this adverse effect on the rest of the European game then the European game will protect itself, that’s just logical, it’s just common sense, and whatever solution they apply will work perfectly well for us here in Scotland. So Celtic needs to be watching this and perhaps even leading the drive towards it.

It is becoming clearer by the day that English football and the TV companies form a cartel of sorts.

It’s pretty obvious that the valuations placed on English football are dragging down the settlement offers to other national associations … and ours most of all.

Share this article


  • S Thomas says:

    The EPL, is like the NBA in basketball, it’s the best product, in with that, you have the biggest money getting pumped into it. This isn’t a new thing. These other leagues have a cheek to be honest, especially someone from Spain. Look at the money Real Madrid spent over the years, with the “Galacticos”. It smells of sour grapes if you ask me.

  • Benjamin says:

    Legislation limiting transfers to the EPL (or even limiting the fees EPL clubs can pay) isn’t going to happen, and nor should it. I have no sympathy for the English clubs, but it’s morally wrong to tell a prospective employee – one of the best in the world at what they do – that they’re not allowed to move to England (or anywhere else for that matter) to get paid. That would violate a number of labour laws and any such attempt at limiting such transfers is bound to get overturned in court similar to the Bosman ruling.

    The EPL is becoming the de facto Super League whether clubs and fans around Europe like it or not. The real solution here is to create a real European Super League that includes the top 6-7 English clubs. And not some closed shop Super League that was proposed last year, but a real league that pulls those mega-clubs out of the EPL entirely, multiple divisions with promotion/relegation, and inclusive of clubs from across all of Europe (not just the top 5 leagues). When that happens, the sponsors and broadcasters will funnel all their money into the new Super League setup, and the EPL will effectively be left with an economic model that resembles that of Belgium. Any other proposed solution to this problem that leaves the EPL in tact with the mega clubs from Liverpool, Manchester, and London primarily playing in the English league is going to fail. The broadcasters and sponsors fueling that league’s growth (growth which is primarily coming from overseas) are going to follow those 6-7 clubs regardless of where they play. Pull them out of Europe, put them in a full-time league with other European clubs, and spread the broadcast money evenly across the entire European league, and competitive and financial balance will be restored. It’s not that difficult!

  • Michael McCartney says:

    The League that has suffered more than any other European League is the SPFL. We are in a strange football environment where we have a Independent football authority but do not live in a Independent country. We have National Broadcasting Companies who overwhelmingly pour money into English Football to the detriment of Scottish Football.
    This is only natural as regards the shareholder owned Broadcasters, such as Sky, BT,ITV etc who are out to make a profit but for the state owned BBC to treat Scottish Football the way it does is disgraceful.
    The only long term answer is a European League of numerous divisions with a pyramid system built in

Comments are closed.