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.