Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has baulked at a suggestion by Chelsea’s new American owner that the Premier League could introduce an US-style All-Star Game between the best players from the north and south.
A slew of high-profile former players have also been left unimpressed by Todd Boehly’s idea.
Speaking at the SALT conference held in New York on Tuesday, Boehly said he hoped the Premier League might “take a little bit of a lesson from American sports” and have an All-Star Game that would raise money for clubs lower down English soccer’s pyramid.
The idea was put to Klopp – and the German coach mocked it.
“What can I say? Does he want to bring the Harlem Globetrotters as well and let them play against a football team?” Klopp said.
Klopp’s main issue was that there was no space in an already crowded soccer calendar to fit such a game.
“When he finds a date for that, he can call me,” he said.
“He forgets that in the big sports in America, these players have four-month breaks so they are quite happy they can do a little bit of sport in these breaks. It’s completely different in football.”
The MLB, NBA and NHL all hold an All-Star Game in the middle of their seasons. The NFL’s equivalent — the Pro Bowl — now takes place the Sunday before the Super Bowl.
Boehly, who part-owns MLB team Los Angeles Dodgers and owns shares in the NBA’s LA Lakers, has made his presence felt since fronting the consortium of businessmen who bought Chelsea for $US3.2 billion ($A4.7 billion) in May.
Just seven games into Chelsea’s season, he fired their Champions League-winning manager Thomas Tuchel and replaced him with Graham Potter from Brighton.
With Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and now Chelsea owned by Americans, perhaps it was inevitable that ideas with a nod to US sports might creep into English soccer.
But Gary Lineker was just one of many former players to speak out against Boehly’s ideas.
“Hey Todd,” Lineker, a former England captain, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, “we already have All-Star games. They’re called internationals.”
Former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher, working as a pundit on CBS Sports for Wednesday’s Champions League games, said Boehly was being “incredibly arrogant to speak about a league you don’t know.”
“I just think how the American public would feel,” Carragher said, “if an English Premier League football owner went to the NFL and said, ‘We do this in the Premier League.’ I think it’s incredibly arrogant to speak like that.”
France great Thierry Henry, working alongside Carragher, dismissed the suggestion.
“This is Europe and it doesn’t work like that,” Henry said.
Klopp has been an outspoken critic about the demands being put on players because of the increasing number of club and national-team games throughout the year.
This season, the World Cup is being held in the middle of an English league campaign for the first time.
Klopp also questioned whether “people want to see” combined teams from the north and south, essentially pitting rival clubs together.
“Imagine that — (Manchester) United players, Liverpool players, Everton players, all together in one team,” he said.
“So all the London guys together?” Klopp added. “Arsenal and Tottenham. Great. Did he really say it? Interesting.”