Premier League Soccer Teams Are Running Out of Private Jets

Teams have been forced to travel to matches in smaller aircraft and, god forbid, buses.

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A photo of a private plane taking off.
Rarer than a Rembrandt.
Photo: Benoit Tessier/AFP (Getty Images)

Over in Europe they have a different version of football where you actually use your feet to play the game. In England, the top league in this crazy sport, which you might call “soccer”, is The Premier League, and it’s facing a dire challenge right now: a shortage of private planes.

The league, where the average salary for a player sits around $51,000 per week, sees 20 soccer teams across England (and sometimes Wales) face off against each other either at home or away matches.

That means there’s always going to be at least one side that has to travel. And, in a country roughly the same size as Oregon, that obviously calls for a fleet of private jets to fly the players, coaching staff and management up and down the country.

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A photo of the Arsenal Team celebrating after a goal.
They play football, with their feet! Imagine that.
Photo: Eddie Keogh (Getty Images)

But, according to The Atlantic, the league has been struggling with a shortage of airliners this season. The site reports:

“It may not be something most of us will ever have to think about, but a shortage of private planes is causing a real headache for Premier League clubs.

“Before Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat at Leeds United earlier this month, Thomas Tuchel’s squad had to travel to Yorkshire using three 14-seater aircraft. The coaching staff followed by bus because there was a technical issue with the original aircraft that had been booked.”

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Along with switching to smaller planes and even buses, teams have also been left paying through the teeth for air travel. The Atlantic reports some teams have been forced to “pay as much as three times the cost” of the equivalent trip a year previously.

“Nobody saw it coming,” one Premier League exec told The Atlantic. “It’s hit us all at the same time — a real conspiracy of circumstances that has caught everyone out.”

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A photo of the Manchester United team bus.
Lads, we’re taking the bus.
Photo: Daniel Carson (Getty Images)

It’s reportedly particularly bad for clubs this year as the COVID-19 pandemic forced some charter companies out of business. There is also said to be a shortage of crew, a lack of larger aircraft in operation and higher fuel prices.

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What’s more, the site reports that Premier League clubs can be picky about the types of aircraft they fly to matches in. It added:

“Many Premier League clubs do not like using propeller aircraft, either, and prefer private jets because they look more slick and professional.”

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If only there was an alternative to crossing a country that takes roughly seven hours to traverse.