In this past week a story has emerged yet again of the proposal of a super league which would replace the Champions League and would not be a part of a UEFA competition.
Super Leagues have been touted seriously since the early 1990s and UEFA already had to react to the threat and created the Champions League in the 1992/93 season. Before that the European Cup was of course only open to the winners of each European league. The Champions League used an expansion that went from 2 clubs with some of the top leagues in Europe having four clubs that can qualify for each season.
Now the elite teams are flexing their muscles again and UEFA’s Champions League is under threat once more. There is more money to be made and more exposure to be had with an independent super league and the richest and most successful clubs want as much as they can get. Instead of rejecting any ideas UEFA have tried to react again, and if these new proposals go through then if you support a mid table club this has far reaching implications and you will want to read on.
The controversial move would be backing the bigger clubs even if they are having, by their standards, a poor season. Take Arsenal who are in 10th place currently in the English Premier League. UEFA are proposing that if the league was to end today that Arsenal would qualify for the Champions League not based on their league position of course but based on their co-efficient points. In other words the last 5 seasons would count. It would mean that if, say Manchester City had a poor couple of seasons coming up, it wouldn’t matter their qualification for the Champions League would be secured anyway.
This is a slap in the face of course to the integrity of the sport and gamesmanship. What about the ‘surprise’ teams of the season, do they not count? Do we not reward the hard effort of for example West Ham and Everton who have punched above their weight this season? Do they just get disregarded? What do real fans think about this?
Once we make a mockery of a sport there seems no going back and UEFA have bent over once to create the Champions League for the elite teams, why would they feel they have to bend over again, why be put to ransom? Well the answer of course is not losing your product which brings in tens of millions of euros per year. But at the same time you are the governing body, does that not count for something?
It is easy to blame UEFA for changes in the rules, but in truth they are being held to ransom and panicking about losing their competition. Clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool need to stop throwing their tantrums and demands about. They are involved in competition that is what sport is all about, if you have a bad season you can get punished, accept it and move on and work harder.
The irony of course is the fear that the elite teams have of not qualifying for a competition where only one team can win it. But the owners do not care as much as the fans for trophies, it’s the money involved that reigns supreme in their minds and the added sponsorship on top- related of course to money.
The big clubs are at fault here. New ideas should always be welcomed in football, but not to the point that it destroys the very fabric of the sport and the people within it.