Saturday 18 November 2017

Premier League managers agree to take part in live TV debates

Brendan Rodgers and Jose Mourinho could face off in a tv studio
Brendan Rodgers and Jose Mourinho could face off in a tv studio

Jason Burt

Football managers from all four divisions of the English leagues have agreed to take part in a new series of ground-breaking “Question Time” style debates which will be broadcast live.

The programmes are the brain-child of Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the League Managers Association, who has been in talks with BBC radio, Sky Sports and BT Sport to air the debates which will take place before a studio audience.

The exact details and format of the programmes have yet to be finalised but the first broadcast could take place as early as the end of this month with a whole series then planned for next season.

Bevan has been encouraged by the response of the managers – including some of the biggest names in the Premier League – and will also turn to former managers and those out-of-work who are looking for opportunities to get back into the game.

The programmes will basically be modelled along the lines of BBC’s long-running ‘Question Time’ show, which is hosted by David Dimbleby, in which politicians from all the parties debate the big issues of the day and field questions from the audience.

 Bevan wants the football programmes to concentrate on “technical aspects” of the game such as how the loan system works, the transfer window and not get drawn into club matters and “who is going to play next Saturday”.

He has already established “technical panels” in each professional league – from the Premier League to League Two – who are putting together the pluses and minuses on various issues and circulate that to all the LMA members for their feedback and the idea for the programmes has developed from that debate.

Bevan explained to Telegraph Sport: “We are conscious that our members do not often talk about the technical aspects of the game. They have a two-three minute moment in pre and post match interviews and we want to get across the views of our members.

“We are then going to launch a series of programmes – Sky, BT and BBC radio have all agreed – and what we are going to do is a live ‘Question Time’-style programme.

“The first one is going to be on radio and hopefully by the end of May. There are going to be four managers, one from each league, but we might also bring in other sports.

“So, for example, if we are going to talk about technical areas then if a broadcaster interviews a manager on technical areas he is probably going to give him a minute or two but if we debate it we can have 25-30 minutes on the subject.

“I went out to the members (managers) and asked them if they were willing to support and we were overwhelmed with the appetite.”

The programmes will be taken around the country with some staged at St George’s Park, the Football Association’s national football centre near Burton-on-Trent, where the LMA is headquartered.

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