Though Gary Neville’s statements against the Premier League may have gone too far, the league is rapidly reaching its breaking point in light of the Man City scandal and Everton’s point penalty.
A creative work has “jumped the shark” when it has completely deviated from its basic principles and has outlived its intended purpose, a term that was first used to characterize a peculiar scene in the 1970s comedy Happy Days.
And all the indications point to the Premier League currently being perilously close to reaching this point of no return.
The problem, as with many things in life, revolves around money. Lots and lots and lots of money.
It’s why Manchester City have moved from decades on the fringes to become the most successful team on the planet. It’s why both they and Newcastle United are now majority state-owned. It’s why Everton were recently slapped with a 10-point deduction. And it’s why Liverpool was among several clubs financially penalized for their foolish attempt to set up a European Super League.
To state that the Premier League is “a defunct organization because they’ve got 20 clubs all voting with self-interest”, as claimed by Gary Neville, is perhaps taking things too far. As is occasionally the case with the former Manchester United man, for better or worse, his passion for the game gets the better of him. After all, the reason the competition came into existence in the first place more than 30 years ago is that clubs were voting with self-interest at heart.
But recent events have underlined something that isn’t right.
There is an element of self-interest in everything anyone does. That’s human nature—the survival instinct kicking in. However, where that self-interest long had a collective aim in the Premier League, now it appears more and more that clubs are prepared to blatantly go with whatever suits them best.
Everton fans are planning a major protest at the weekend over what they deem as corruption in the Premier League after their censure for breaching the competition’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules. Yet the Blues, presumably guided by prospective new owners 777, were reportedly among those who this week blocked a temporary ban on incoming loan deals between clubs with the same owners – transfers that will most likely open up accusations of unfair advantages for those part of a multi-club empire.
Throw in the ongoing controversy over the implementation of VAR, and rarely has the self-styled greatest league in the world been under such intense scrutiny.
But is the Premier League actually corrupt? There remains sufficient goodwill from the general football populace not to genuinely consider such an actuality. And while very much teetering on a precipice, the situation remains salvageable. However, the ongoing calls for independent regulation may now have to be acted upon.