Spirit of Shankly RESPONDS to Liverpool chairman's New York fixture idea

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner risked the wrath of match-going supporters by suggesting that Premier League matches could be played in the United States and even around the world. 

Werner, a key investor in Fenway Sports Group (FSG), made the suggestion when interviewed by the Financial Times for a profile on Liverpool owner John Henry. 

The idea of overseas matches has been floated before, most infamously when the Premier League discussed “Game 39” and taking matches to the United States and elsewhere.

Overseas matches have again been catapulted to the top of the agenda having been discussed at the recent FIFA Council meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

The world governing body has established a working group looking at the impact of playing competitive games in other countries, while Premier League CEO Richard Masters has also stated that the door is “ajar” for playing matches elsewhere

Those comments came on the back of an agreement between FIFA and Relevent Sports, the US company which ran the International Champions Cup between 2013 and 2019.

NBC want US matches

It’s been reported that the US Premier League broadcaster NBC would like to stage TWO games on US soil on the opening weekend of next season after inking a $2 billion deal, an idea which was shot down by previous Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. 

When asked whether he ever foresaw himself becoming FIFA president recently, Klopp replied: “It is obviously a well-paid job, that is why they all want to do it - not the official part obviously. I don’t think I will spend my lifetime on these kinds of things. 

“In the end one person cannot put it right as long as all the rest think: ‘Ah, it will be alright, they earn millions, let them play there. Let's do the first three match days in America’ - all really good ideas."

Werner 'determined' to have US fixtures

But Klopp’s former FSG colleague reignited talk of taking the Premier League on the road in the FT article. “I’m determined one day to have a Premier League game be played in New York City,” he said. 

“I even have the sort of crazy idea that there would be a day where we play one game in Tokyo, one game a few hours later in Los Angeles, one game a few hours later in Rio, one game a few hours later in Riyadh and make it sort of a day where football, where the Premier League, is celebrated.” 

SoS: A lot of things need to change

And now Liverpool supporters group Spirit of Shankly has expressed its opposition to the idea, stating that fans are determined NOT to play matches abroad. 

“Anyone determined to play competitive LFC Premier League matches abroad should remember that we as fans are determined they don’t,” the organisation wrote on X, formerly Twitter

“There’s lots of things that need to change in football - ticket prices, an independent regulator, financial fairness and more. Where we play doesn’t!”

John Henry not interested

When it was put to Werner that fans might be opposed to the idea, he waved away those concerns, saying: “Let’s figure out a way to offer them very cheap travel, accommodations so that if Liverpool is playing Nottingham Forest, we will support fans coming to New York. “Make this an attractive thing for the fans as well.” 

It must be added that FSG supremo Henry does not share his colleague's enthusiasm. “It is not something that I advocate or am particularly interested in," he is reported to have said.

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