How About an Indian-Style Football Premier League?

I felt a mixture of bemusement and enjoyment as I sat and watched the fascinating and lively auction for cricket’s upcoming Indian Premier League. But once I’d got over the amusement of seeing players being bought for different teams in an auction house and awarded their price as wages with no choice as to who they play for – it suddenly dawned on me that the Indians might have struck gold on this one.

This 44-day Twenty20 competition sounds brilliant.

Each of the eight city franchises are allowed eight non-Indian players in their 16-man squad, but only four of them can play in each match. In addition four Indian under-22 players MUST play in each game too. Home representation is strong but each city has landed some of the greatest players on earth and I for one, can’t wait to see how this fresh format works. I think it could be stunning. And you know what? This could be the future of football….

Imagine a Premier League where every team had to use four English under-22 year olds. Then imagine your Premier League team having to field three other English players. That makes seven. Then imagine having four of the world’s greatest footballers making up the rest of your side.

There would be more than enough places up for grabs for the Birmingham’s and Reading’s of this world to be able to snare players like Figo, Seedorf, Ibrahimovic, Pirlo, Trezeguet, Toni and Raul to name just a few.

It would even things up somewhat too. Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool would only be allowed to snap up 24 foreigners between them. They’d still be favourites given their financial clout but they’d have to be a bit more selective over the imports they decide to bring in.

A good youth policy would also be rewarded too. And the England national team would benefit enormously I am sure.

It’s not a bad vision is it…?

Forget this 39th game nonsense. Let’s give this IPL format a go in football instead. We could invent a competition — in an non-World Cup or European Championship summer, and then we could trial it. If it works, maybe that’s the future model of the game.

It’s not as crazy as you think. What do you reckon?

Previously published at

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