Chelsea star Kepa Arrizabalaga weighs in on Todd Boehly's controversial North v South idea

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Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has suggested that he would be in favour of a North vs South All-Star game in the Premier League on the condition that he plays between the sticks. The idea, which was proposed by Blues owner Todd Boehly earlier this week, has sparked plenty of controversy over the last few days in spite of the American billionaire’s insistence that football could learn a lot from US sports.

The suggestion of a North vs South match has already been laughed off by a handful of prominent figures in the Premier League, with Jurgen Klopp poking fun at the idea when asked about Boehly’s comments on Tuesday. Arrizabalaga has since revealed that he would be open to playing in an All-Star game if he starts in goal for the South team and if it can be held at a suitable time of the season.

“It would be a big game,” said the Spaniard. “There are a lot of big players in this league, North v South, we will see. It is a different idea but I don’t know at what point we can play this game, so we see.

“I heard something but I didn’t watch too much about it. I think Todd said something? It is a completely different idea. I think we have to know a little bit more about it.”

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The idea of a North vs South game was floated by Boehly with the intention of raising money for the entire football pyramid and plenty of debate has followed over which players would be selected, with Liverpool and Manchester City having been tipped to make up the majority of the North side. Arrizabalaga smiled when asked who would be in goal for the Southerners, though, before replying: “I am!”

All-Star matches are commonplace in American sport and particularly in baseball, basketball and football, with a select group of the best players in the MLS facing off against an invited team on an annual basis. Boehly defended the suggestion of a Premier League version earlier this week by insisting that it would make enough money to benefit the rest of the English league system, at a time when the disparity between the country’s richest clubs and those outside of the top flight is more prominent than ever before.

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“Ultimately I hope the Premier League takes a little bit of a lesson from American sports,” said Boehly. “And really starts to figure out, why don’t we do a tournament with the bottom four sports teams, why isn’t there an All-Star game?

“People are talking about more money for the pyramid. In the MLB All-Star game this year we made 200 million dollars from a Monday and a Tuesday. So we’re thinking we could do a North versus South All-Star game for the Premier League for whatever the pyramid needed quite easily.”

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