Should the Premier League Have an All-Star Game?

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Should the Premier League Have an All-Star Game?
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From the decline in 3 p.m. kickoffs to the infamous Game 39 proposal, the Premier League has often regarded tradition as a fun-spoiling, progress-denying impediment. Once given primary concern, the interests of match-going supporters are now shunned in favour of a far larger armchair audience.

For the vicarious viewer, football exists solely at elite level, an endless stream of Super Sundays and Champions League Tuesdays. In a world where El Clasico is king, there has been surprisingly little clamour for the creation of an NBA-style All-Star game.

In a real-life version of fantasy football, club loyalties would be cast aside in order to assemble two super-teams of the Premier League's finest by popular vote. In recognition of geographical differences, the divide would be North-South rather than East-West.

Some will undoubtedly find the prospect of such an exhibition match appealing, but beyond the selection process itself there is little to excite.

First off, there is already an equivalent—the Community Shield, supposedly bringing together the country's best two teams as a curtain-raiser for the new season. Far from a full-blooded encounter, it is, in truth, little more than a glorified friendly conducted at half pace by players aware of its insignificance.

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The shortcomings of the Community Shield would simply be magnified in an All-Star game. For fear of injury it would be played in a sedate, contactless manner. Football without the requisite intensity is an uninspiring spectacle, hollow entertainment over whole-hearted competition.

Another thing it would significantly lack is a sense of partisanship. For many the enjoyment of football is rooted in tribalism, an emotional investment in the teams on show. Football involving a loose collective of the league's best is a superficial experience, more commercial opportunity than football match.

This is the crux of the problem. The idea of an All-Star game arises from cynical profiteering, something the Premier League is well-versed in, but that shouldn't be encouraged. It would be just another corporate junket for the Club Wembley brigade, where high ticket prices, advertising hype and shallow razzmatazz triumph over something of substance.

Expect Richard Scudamore to be in touch forthwith.

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