Premier League

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World’s Finest Football

The English Premier League is the top football league in England and perhaps all of Europe. This league currently has some of the world’s most famous players and oldest clubs. Each of the clubs that competes in the Premier League has the ability to recruit and keep some of the finest football players around the world. This was not always the case as in the mid 80s football in England was at an all time low point. Stadiums were falling apart, hooliganism was rampant, and football as a whole in England was not well received worldwide. Fast forward 20 years or so and you now have the highest grossing and most popular league in the world of professional football. What happened to make this change occur and why the Premier League continues to reign as best in the world is a well planned chain of events that allowed English Football to once again rise to the top.

Change Was Needed

With the state of English football in total disarray something was needed to attract quality players and allow for the top clubs to become profitable again. There was a rash of unpleasant incidents in the eighties including the death of 39 fans at Heysel stadium. This event led to the banning of all English teams by UEFA from all European competition. This single event has been called the worst in the history of UEFA. Because of this, the world’s top players would not even consider playing football for an English team. This however was not the bottom. That happened in a 1989 match at Hillsborough between Liverpool and Nottingham in which 96 fans died and over 150 were injured. Because of this event the Taylor Report was commissioned to take a look into the state of English football. This report recommended change in all major stadia to ensure the safety and health of all spectators. The main focus was that all stadia needed to be converted to “all seat” models in which every ticketed spectator had a seat. All clubs hoping to be in the highest league had to comply with this recommendation. Some clubs had already recognised there was a problem and begun updates before the report was released. Other parts of the report focused on the construction of crush barriers, fences and other methods to ensure that events would be safe for people of all ages. This report was the first step towards the forming of a new set of rules and eventually the English Premier League itself.

After the report came out the top clubs in England became even more concerned because now on top of their ability to get quality players they were looking at significant expenses to restructure their stadia. Even before the report was released many clubs were threatening to leave and form their own league in an attempt to capture and take advantage of television revenue. Eventually all of the clubs recognised that radical change was needed and on the 17th of July 1991 the Founding Members Agreement was signed establishing the basic principles of the Premier League. The biggest thing was that the Premier League would break off from the Football League and FA and would be free to establish its own television broadcasts as well as revenue streams.

The major teams struck a radical deal with Sky TV to broadcast games and offered them on a pay basis. This was somewhat of a new concept in sports, and definitely something new for English football. The original deal was worth 191 million pounds over 5 years, but has soared to a mind boggling 1.7 billion pounds for 2007-2010. The league now had the capital to really launch itself to the forefront and begin trying to once again attract the world’s greatest players.

Rise To Prominence

In 1990, right before the forming of the English Premier League, UEFA decided to lift the ban on English footballs participation in their competitions. This lifting would be important in years to come as attracting players from other countries without it would prove to be virtually impossible. The main motivating factor that established the Premier League was the amount of money they were able to receive in the television contract. In 1986 The Football Leagues television contract was 6.3 million pound for 2 seasons. As stated above, the new super league was able to negotiate 191 million dollars for five years, and this number continues to grow. Without this influx of capital, English football may never have returned to prominence. While money is a great thing, it does not necessarily cure all of ones problems, whether they are personal or for a league of super teams.

In 1992 the First Division clubs withdrew from the Football League. The FA Premier League was formed in May of that year by the teams that had withdrawn. With the top teams gone, the Football League would continue to operate and continue its 104 year tradition, although it would now only have three lower leagues instead of all four. The format of the new Premier League stayed the same, except that they were completely relieved of being tied revenue wise to the lower Football League. Initially there were 22 teams in the league, however it was the intention since the inception to cut that back to 20 and as of now that is how many there are. Each of the clubs in the league is considered to be a part owner in the league. As such, each team receives one vote in meetings to resolve issues like rule changes and other things. All of the clubs votes to elect the members that look after the daily operations of the league.

The league continues to grow and become a force in the world of football. As of 2008, it was ranked as the highest grossing league with La Liga (Spain) and Serie A (Italy) trailing behind. Because of the influx of money and establishment of rules to address previous issue, the Premier League can now attract the best players in the world. When it was formed there were only 11 non British or Irish footballers, today this has grown to over 250. The Premier League will continue to dominate world football for years to come, although as you can see that was not always the case. Through hard work and effort the Premier League was able to rise to the top.