Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Liverpool's Indian Hope Trick
Liverpool FC recently announced the launch of a new academy in India. The Steve McMahon Football Academy, a franchise of the Liverpool International Football Academy, will open its doors in Delhi later this year and three more are planned for other areas of India. After that, Liverpool plan more academies in other Asian countries and beyond.
That last line is particularly damning. Remember this comes from the Economic Times, not the Morning Star. When a pro-capitalism, pro-free-market broadsheet is castigating you for putting profit first then there can be little doubt as to Liverpool's motives. And it again underlines that Liverpool's reputation as some sort of community-focused, left-of-centre, people's club in contrast to the rampant commercialism of Chelsea or Man U, is totally misplaced.
But we shouldn't be surprised. On Liverpool's official website, this is the blurb designed to entice investors to open a Liverpool branded international football academy franchise: From a standard ‘pay as you play’ clinic or school holiday camp through to the ultimate offering with our International Football Academy. Our Academy franchise packages can provide you with the opportunity to develop an integrated brand presence by giving you the option to both (sic) Liverpool Football Club retail merchandising and food & beverage opportunities.
No mention there of helping under-privileged kiddies in poor countries make it to the big time; no mention of helping to improve the standard of football in the countries which Liverpool hope to colonize through their academy scheme. Just talk of selling merchandise and food & drink.