Imagine it’s 2051 and City of Manchesters United play Liverpool Red Toffees in the first North West derby in ten years after the two franchises have been separated, kept-apart in the European Super League group stages and not fortunate enough to reach a final of a competition long dominated by Real Spain and Barcelona Catalans.
Because that’s what will happen if the football ‘big boys’ get there way.
Talk of a European Super League has been kicking around for as long as the Champions League has become monotonous, boring with the same old them verses us games that get drawn out of the hat down to its even more depressing seeding structure year after year… English clubs want change, because they can’t win the Champions League every season. Spanish clubs want it too, because their league is crap, Italian clubs want it, because their league is ran by crooks.
So who doesn’t want it?
In principle it seems a great idea… The best sixteen clubs in Europe doing battle to be continents no1, but the issue is at the expense of ‘what’… The Premier League? UEFA? I actually think the mere suggestion of it stinks of the way the Premier League was formatted in the first place, the big clubs wanting a bigger piece of pie… If it were me, I would call their bluff and say to all of em ‘sod off’…
The announcement actually comes ahead of UEFA’s proposed restructuring of the Champions League, which is a crap, lazy, pathetic restructure which just drags the inevitable out longer… The clubs want more money and less games, I want the clubs to play less games and I don’t care if they make more money, everyone wants clubs to play less games to cut the to the chase, and for the health, wellbeing and finances of those who play and pay to watch… But UEFA propose more… It simply cannot work.
The idea to play ten randomly selected sides in a league format over ten matches prior to knockout stages adds confusion to what has been a pretty simple format over the years, but no one will disagree that the UEFA Champions League in its current format doesn’t need to change, because it does.
I vouch for a sixteen team European Super League (backed and driven by UEFA) with two groups of eight, starting with the top sixteen ranked UEFA co-efficient sides with the top four in each group going onto single leg QF’s, SF’s and finals which can be played in a week late May.
The bottom two in each group relegated from the following seasons competition, with the two teams promoted in their place, the winner of the UEFA Champions League (a re-formatted competition for the winner of each domestic league in Europe just like in old times) and the winner of the UEFA Champions Cup (a re-formatted KO competition for the winner of each domestic cup in Europe)…. Rewarding teams for ‘success’.
My theory, my plot, is simple… The big boys get to play on their own (for now), the rest get opportunity to compete with the big boys by qualifying… Everyone is richer, everyone is happier… We all have competition that we can watch, enjoy, and easily follow.
Football after all has proved it can live without fans and prosper with a sit at home TV audience, but the domestic game has to do what it can to stay strong, stay healthy, stay true to its roots, whether it be England or Estonia, Spain or Serbia… The meaningless ‘second cup competition’ in England, like it has done in France, needs scrapping, the main domestic cup competition, for example the FA Cup, should be a route into European competition, the league title, should also be a route into European competition, potential to have runners-up included, but third, fourth, we really need to stop teams celebrating reaching this ‘average’ milestone.
If we went with UEFA’s club co-efficient right now… the sixteen teams would be dominated by the biggest clubs on the continent, England (6), Spain (4), Germany (2), Italy (2), France (1), Portugal (1), surely this is WIN/WIN for those wanting to be involved? The key is this is not a closed shop, and must be open to all, whether it be Tottenham or Tirana, Arsenal or Ajax, the opportunity should be open for anyone good enough, otherwise the whole concept, will simply fail and nobody will watch.
I actually think nothing will come of this latest move, other than UEFA offering a better prize for playing even more UCL games, but it is a step by the clubs involved that says ‘we want more’ and if ‘we’ don’t get it, we’ll simply spit our dummies’ out and take back our ball to our owners huge ranches.
Gary Neville hit the nail on the head.. Pure greed, is the result of the ‘elite 16’ wanting to set up away on their own… Whilst football needs to stand up and say ‘money isn’t everything’ to these horrible billionaire playboy owners that now run our game, I do get that football needs to change, and with it, a better competition that simplifies the acknowledgement of who is best in Europe. Because that after all should be end goal, above all the $$$ signs we see.