May 11, 2012
“I am not going to get dragged into criticising Venkys as people or as owners. They have behaved themselves as owners of clubs in terms of what we require of them.”
Those are the thoughts of Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore – and are in addition to him assuring Blackburn fans earlier in the week that their club is not headed in the same direction as Portsmouth.
That’s fine Richard, but you’re kind of missing the point here. The situation with Venky’s is about far more than just balance sheets and long-term financial futures. That’s the problem with the Premier League, they’re completely incapable of thinking outside of a monetary context. Everything’s about cash, and supporters are just consumers.
Wake up. Football fans don’t care about profit margins and stability projects, their concerns are centred on the pitch, and whether they’re being given value for their money and their loyalty. Obviously, neither of those boxes have been ticked by Venky’s at Ewood Park.
Rather than shrugging his shoulders, putting his hands in his pockets, and walking away because the Rao family ‘behaved themselves’, maybe it’s time to readdress and redefine what is actually required of club owners and possibly give the fans some reassurances in the face of future takeovers.
Don’t you think Richard? Wouldn’t that be fair, given that it’s ultimately the fans’ loyalty which props up the Premier League brand. Or are you now so convinced that the product has an inexhaustible level of demand that you think that disenfranchising fans is an irrelevance.
It’s funny, when the issue at hand is brand expansion and the possibility of a ’39th game’ in some far away petrodollar dictatorship, Scudamore is incredibly progressive and very proactive – not with Venky’s though, supposedly he’s powerless there.
It’s not too dramatic to say that as the Premier League’s Chief Executive, and as the head of the organisation that rubber stamps foreign investment in top-level football, Scudamore has to take responsibility for what these people do during their time here.
If Venky’s haven’t broken any rules and have adhered to the guidelines set by the Premier League, then a new ownership criteria needs to be drawn up and Scudamore should be replaced by somebody willing to implement it.
It’s gone too far now, it can’t always just be about cash harvesting.
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