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Rupert Murdoch plans the 'Formula 1' of football

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Can't see how this could be feasible, but......




Rupert Murdoch plans summer contest for football's top clubs

16 teams from European leagues would play in cities around the world under plans by tycoon's global broadcasting company


Rupert Murdoch's broadcasters around the world would air matches from the competition under the plans. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch's global broadcasting company is exploring an ambitious plan to create a summer football competition featuring Europe's top clubs, including English Premier League sides, with matches to be played in cities from Los Angeles to Shanghai.


Leading clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea would be invited to participate, should the tournament come to fruition, competing with the biggest clubs from Europe's other top leagues – the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.


The idea would see a 16-team competition run for 10 years with a potential start date of 2015 in the close season when clubs traditionally play exhibition matches.


Matches would be aired on Sky and by Murdoch's other broadcasters worldwide. The mogul's 21st Century Fox company – being separated from publishing business News Corporation later this month – also owns broadcasters in Italy, Germany, Asia and the United States.


One source described the plan as akin to the "Formula One-isation of football", with cities from Europe, Asia and the Americas bidding to host tournament matches.


The Guardian understands that approaches have been made to a number of cities by executives from Murdoch subsidiary Fox International to explore partnerships to host the exhibition-style tournament matches. But the proposal is at its early stages.


"One of the major issues is if it gets to the stage of trying to pull the empire together and paying what they think is a fair share," said a second source.


With more than half of the clubs in the Premier League in the hands of overseas owners, and five of those now owned by Americans including Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, the desire to go global has increased.


Manchester United, third behind Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid in terms of overall revenues, have shown the way in commercialising their overseas fanbase, vastly increasing their income by tapping into international sponsorship markets. As such, plans for overseas tours in the close season have also become increasingly ambitious.


Chelsea, for example, headed to the US to play Manchester City as soon as their marathon season finished and will head to Thailand, Malaysia, India and back to America before the start of the 2013-14 season. Manchester United will go to Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong. It is in that context that Fox International executives have drawn up their plan, but they will have to convince club owners it represents a better bet than forging their own path.


The Guinness International Cup, featuring eight clubs including Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Juventus and LA Galaxy would appear to be a dry run for the more ambitious scheme. Early rounds will take place in Europe, with the finals in Miami in August.


The thinking may also be influenced by the fact that Fox has lost the rights to live Premier League football in the US to NBC for the next three seasons. In what is expected to be a watershed moment for the appeal of football in the US, NBC will show every match live including 20 on its main network.


Murdoch has made several attempts to shake up sports – in the 1990s News Corp set up its own rugby Super League in Australia, forcing the sport's national governing body to partner to create the National Rugby League competition. Earlier this year it emerged that BSkyB and News Corp were interested in creating a new world series of cycling – while in 2011 Murdoch's media group made an unsuccessful attempt to take control of Formula One.


Plans for a European Super League have been proposed with various degrees of seriousness several times in the past decade. There was a detailed plan doing the rounds in 2009 and again in 2011, but the Uefa president, Michel Platini, has been alive to the threat and sealed a deal in 2012 with the European Clubs Association, representing 137 of the biggest clubs, that will hold until 2018 and should keep them within the Uefa fold.


With the idea of playing regular season games abroad torpedoed in the short term by the negative reaction to the Premier League's unusually half-baked "39th game" plan in 2008, attention has turned to the close season.


News Corp and BSkyB declined to comment.


Drawing up ambitious plans for a close season tournament would allow the clubs involved to avoid clashing with their domestic leagues and the existing European club competitions, although Fifa and Uefa may have concerns over what is becoming an increasingly cluttered summer football calendar. The fixture list has become a battleground for the ongoing political battles between the clubs, leagues and governing bodies jostling for control of the calendar.



Any thoughts?


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The players need a rest surely. Also, It would have to be every 2 years (when theres no Euros or World Cup). Could be fun to watch, but it would put a final dagger into any sort of competition remaining in the domestic leagues.

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s*** idea.


However a small bonus would the be likes of Man Utd, Chelsea etc coming back paggered and fatigued before the new season starts.


Won't even be that many matches if they have 4 groups of 4, winners goes into semis. Will just be 4 glorified friendlies (at most) in place of any usual summer plans.


s*** idea fwiw. We already have the CL.

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Is this c*** not dead yet?


Wait until he sees the divorce settlement.


Apparently there have been several 'agreements' signed so she won't get loads, although she'll not go hungry either. Seems the old fucker learned from the last one.

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Is this cunt not dead yet?


I was just thinking.... if this ever comes off, then I hope he dies on the eve of the opening match.


Fuck off and leave football alone. It's fine as it is and will be fine as it is long after you're dead.

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Beginning of the end of this comes off but theres a chance it will with all the cash Murdoch can throw at it then get back by hawking matches to any country that pays. Then again this kind of story crops up every summer doesn't it?

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