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Alan Shearer Draws Parallel Between ISL & Premier League

Drawing an unlikely parallel between the Indian Super League, in its infancy now, and the phenomenally successful Premier League, England's football great Alan Shearer said the baby steps taken a quarter century ago have led Premier League to where it's now.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:March 3, 2017, 5:36 PM IST
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Alan Shearer Draws Parallel Between ISL & Premier League
Alan Shearer with the Premier League trophy on Day 2 of The Football Movement hosted by Department of International Trade.

Mumbai: Drawing an unlikely parallel between the Indian Super League, in its infancy now, and the phenomenally successful Premier League, England's football great Alan Shearer said the baby steps taken a quarter century ago have led Premier League to where it's now.

"My friends here tell me that football is never going to be the number one sport in India and cricket will always have that title. But that does not mean stopping efforts to make Indian football bigger and better," said the former England international at a media interaction on Friday.

"When we look back to EPL in 1992 and now it shows how small steps will eventually get you there," said the ex-Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers star striker who is the holder of the EPL's goal scoring record (260 strikes).

Shearer, who is here to take part in "The Football Movement" initiative, did not think China's recent trend of paying exorbitant amount to attract top players to play in that nation's league could be sustained for long.

"I don't necessarily see that as the right way forward because it's instant. I find it difficult to see how China is going to sustain it. It's about growing, about trying to promote from within, getting the youth involved in the game. But it's not a quick process and will take time.

"The difference between China and ISL is that when ISL signed a lot of big name players they were sort of on their way out or in the latter stages of their careers. What China are doing is to get players at the peak of their career, 24 or 25 years of age, which is one of the reasons why they have to pay the outrageous sums of money as salaries.

"I find it difficult to see how China will be able to sustain paying the sort of salaries to players they pay now."

He was candid to say the world's most popular sport is now a business and player power has increased multi-fold, thus making the football manager's job a bit more taxing.

"Football is a business, that's the way you have to look at it. From football club to others, everyone wants to make money. That's the world we live in and in football, more so. That's never going to change and it will only get bigger."

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