The Long Search to Fill Soccer’s Biggest, Toughest Job

By on February 18, 2020

The Premier League took more than a year to get its new chief executive. The league has grown into a billion-dollar industry, generating revenue for league and clubs. The fans are also benefiting by placing bets on online casinos like Betway at Betway soccer bets, making money on correct scores as they follow the league. The league has attracted great sponsorship deals for both clubs and the league as a whole.

There is no other attractive job in football, like sitting at the helm of the Premier League. It is a tough job negotiating TV contracts, mediating disputes between teams and owners, and keeping the league relevant in the competitive world of soccer.

As attractive as the position may sound, it has taken quite a while to be filled. At some point, two nominees accepted the job but failed to take office. The first was unable to take office under unclear circumstances. The second resigned after accusations of improper workplace conduct before he even started work.

Finally, the Premier League settled on its Managing Director, who was in charge on an interim basis. Richard Masters was agreed upon by consensus. He was picked as the safe choice after the previous recruitment process ended up in an embarrassing manner reflecting poorly on the Premier League leadership.

Masters sought to assure the Premier League followers in his first press conference that he was going to focus on the football. As his predecessor always said, “never forget the football.”

After all, is said and done, the rift in the power hierarchy of the Premier League was exposed. The way the recruitment was conducted showed differences exist that may prove not very easy to sort out going forward. Social equality and collectivist approach have been the core values of the Premier League. The interests of the smaller clubs and that of the so-called big six made up of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal have always been balanced. Such are values that have ensured the success of the league for more than thirty years.

Discussions with some executives privy to the league’s search for a new head, a different picture came into view. It seems the interests of the big six teams and that of the lesser teams do not align anymore. It also emerged that the league is struggling to control the aspirations and financial demands of its most influential members. It also seems some teams are deemed to be more equal than others.

Those following the search closely believe that Liverpool and Manchester United seemed to have been given unofficial sanction on the nominating committee’s pick. But, both team’s executives refuted the claims.

Other teams also like West Ham, who have Betway as their official sponsors since 2015, noticed the special treatment given to Liverpool and United. The big six are fierce rivals on the pitch, but off it, they come together to strategize on board proposals and changes to the rules. In fact, before the first board meeting under Masters, the prominent executives had a forum before joining the rest. The big teams’ strategy yielded immediate fruits as their proposal to have the closing transfer window date aligned with other top European leagues was approved by voting.

The Premier League is doing well financially. The appeal of the league is still significant. As Masters plans to take on the task at hand, the big challenge will be to persuade every club to tag along. He will also have to maintain policies that don’t scare away club sponsors like Betway away from the league. Whether he will be able to hold the clubs together as the power struggle continues or not is a question time will answer.

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