Will English football come to Vancouver?

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Following on the heels of other major sports leagues expanding their fanbase and their brand around the world, the top league in English football (soccer) the Premier League has announced that as of 2011 that all of its teams will play one competitive match a season overseas. The idea has met with opposition across England who see the proposal upsetting the delicate balance that is football tradition [av]. With football’s world governing body FIFA against the idea, it is still not clear whether or not the oversea’s game will happen.

If it does go through though Vancouver could be poised to be one of the cities to hold a match, especially if the new waterfront stadium that the Whitecaps have been wanting is finally built [vwc]. Assuming we don’t totally make a mess of the Olympics we will also have a very good deal of experiance running world class sporting events. Asia might be where the Premier League is looking, but we’re still going to be an attractive city.

What would Vancouver gain? Well the Whitecaps would have a way to show off what a wonderful experiance watching a soccer game in their new stadium can be, and in turn ideally pick up a few new season ticket holders. Also though clearly not as much of an impact as the Olympics, there would be a tourist upswing for the match with both teams bringing in support not only from England but from across North America.

Currently it’s a pipe dream. Opposition to the plan is strong enough both in England and in football’s governing bodies that it probably won’t happen. Yet exhibition matches between top European teams have been played in Seattle, with Celtic and Manchester United playing there a few years ago, and with the success of the Whitecaps / LA Galaxy friendly at GM Place more top level football could be being played in Vancouver very soon.

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