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Michel Ma Belle

By Dawson Boyle :  13/11/2007 :  Comments (15) :
I may be in a minority amongst Everton supporters, but I was saddened to hear Uefa chief, Michel Platini?s, plans for the Champions League being rejected.

As usual, the might of the G14 laughed away suggestions that winners of domestic leagues in smaller countries should be given automatic inclusion. Even going as far as to suggest the competition might be devalued by having actual ?Champions? in the League that bears the name.

Similarly, the most powerful football clubs in Europe threw out the suggestion that cup winners be allowed entry. Heaven forbid next years European Champions might have won something the previous year...

Everton?s flirtation with Villarreal aside, the Premier League, like all of Europe?s major leagues, is a farce, pandering to a rich elite. The gulf in wealth between the clubs who have manipulated themselves into the qualifying positions and the also-rans making up the rest of the league grows by the season.

Everton?s mantle, in some sections of the press as ?the best team outside the top four? only flatters to deceive. In all the major bookmakers, bets are being taken on who will finish highest up the league ? top four aside ? before a ball has even been kicked. Can this be good for the game?

Any move by football?s governing body to break this autonomy can only be a good thing and should be welcomed with open arms by the rest of the Premier League ? Everton included. Any thoughts of devaluing the competition by allowing a lesser team to represent their country is laughable. By making such a statement, as Wenger and Ferguson already have, they not only debase football, they are devaluing the FA cup! A competition they have equally claimed to be the best domestic cup competition in the world.

It?s time we call their bluff. We should no longer be held to ransom by these footballing mercenaries. As usual there reaction was to suggest a breakaway league if they don?t get their way, so let them do it. See how popular a league would be void of derbies. Void of reachable away games and where the same teams trawl out their bloated superstars time after time in front of a disinterested, disillusioned public.

Reader Comments

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Peter Pridgeon
1   Posted 13/11/2007 at 05:01:16

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Lets be honest Dawson, our only complaint is that we are not part of the G14 or the elite of the English game at present.
When we were in the big five we had no complaints, when we broke transfer records and wage records we had no complaints now we are a mid table club (and that is where we are today despite a wonderful four weeks) we complain about the old boys club.
Chelsea are not part of the G14 but have bought their way into the EPL elite, we as Evertonians hope that we will get there by clever buying and good management, however so do the supporters of Newcastle, Aston Villa, Man City and Spurs
If we do break into the elite of English football I am sure we wont be shedding a tear for the club we knock out of that group or for the other four pretenders to that club
Philip McAvoy
2   Posted 13/11/2007 at 09:58:41

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Platinis plans to get the smaller clubs in worked - it was the plan to give the cup winners a place that was rejected. The result is that there is an extra qualifying round for the fourth placed club but none at all for the third placed club.
Peter Laing
3   Posted 13/11/2007 at 09:59:25

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I support your sentiments totally Dawson and the comments made by Peter Pridgeon certainly do not resonate with me. During the 1970’s and 80’s the FA Cup was regularly contested by team’s outside the top 5, great man management also witnessed team’s such as Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Ipswich all competing domestically and in Europe. The G14 cartel is both self-serving and continually threatens to undermine the integrity of the game, to me such a self-depricating and vain attitude personified by the creature that is Rick Parry.
Nick Entwistle
4   Posted 13/11/2007 at 11:57:18

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Wasn’t it great when it was European Cup, CWP and UEFA Cup. Each had their own place and was proper competition rather than truley selling out for money money money... I don’t follow football with pasion now, only Everton. I could just about tell you the Man Utd 1st XI but no other team’s and have no interest in internationals though do watch just the tournaments for the spectacle.
How many more are like me?
Rob Nolan
5   Posted 13/11/2007 at 12:04:52

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This seems like two different debates to me.

YES it?s a shame the "top four" and the G14 have such control.

However I have NO idea what good it would do to help smaller nations champions into the competition. So 4th place in the Prem doesn?t get CL -- how does that help us (or any other team trying to break their hold)? The proposal made no sense -- it would just make it easier for Man U and Chelsea (as it?s no doubt easier to face a champion from some minor country rather than, say, an Arsenal or the Serie A/Liga equivalent).

Platini?s plan made no sense at all and in the end he caved on the part which could have helped a little (the FA Cup winner) and changed the part that helps none of the teams trying to break the G14 (the smaller nations champions part).

Complete waste of time.

Tom Hughes
6   Posted 13/11/2007 at 11:58:11

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Cant agree with Peter Pridgeon at all I’m afraid...... When we were considered top five in the 80’s, or even top three in the 60’s, it was always possible for smaller clubs to break into the honours. In fact smaller clubs regularly did just that. LFC were only a medium sized club pre 60’s with ramshackle facilities. Ipswich won the league in the 60’s, Forest won everything in the 70’s. The difference now is the upper echelons have practically manipulated a cartel whereby they are guaranteed substantial additional TV and other incomes to enable them to operate on a completely different level to everyone else. It has got to the point where they are almost untouchable on that foodchain. We all yearn for the day when one has a real wobble and falls off the ladder altogether, but again is that really the best way for a league to operate. We will end up like scotland (or many other leagues) where 90% of the population supports 5% of the clubs, and then their European League will really work, and there will be no way in, and possibly no more meaningfull Nurembergs for us.
Dawson Boyle
7   Posted 13/11/2007 at 12:18:25

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Rob Nolan, We shouldn?t be trying to break into the G14, we should be trtying to dissolve it?s power.

They have absolutely no mandate from the wider football public, yet they have moulded the whole competition in their likeness to cement their power over the game.

As an Evertonian, I would never wish to be involved in such a racket.

By involving smaller nations in the tournament, nations who have earnt their place by winning their respective leagues, a marked shift is made towards the old style of European competition.

That is why it is the same debate. Anything that dissolves the power of this rich elite is good for football.
Matthew Sweeney
8   Posted 13/11/2007 at 15:48:15

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Do you know the last club to win the FA cup outside the top 4 were? Us in 1995. Whilst us, newcastle and leeds have all managed to break in the top 4 for at least a season since then. Platinis plans would have made it harder for us to get in the Champions League, not easier.
Steve Green
9   Posted 13/11/2007 at 15:48:17

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This new setup will last only until one of the G14 clubs, likely you know who, gets knocked out in one of those two qualifying rounds. Then the G14 will stamp its feet and demand a new system.
The fact is football today isn?t yet a monopoly, but it is an oligopoly in almost every European nation. England has its Top Four (which by the way have won every FA Cup since our last in 1995); Scotland the Auld Firm; Italy the Big Three (Juve, AC and Inter); Spain has Real, Barca and maybe Valencia; Portugal has Porto, Benfica and maybe Sporting; Holland has Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV. There?s very little chance for the so-called lesser clubs in the bigger leagues to get more than the one-off whiff of the Champions League.
Anything to dilute this concentration of power in football should be welcomed with open arms.

John Maxwell
10   Posted 13/11/2007 at 15:57:21

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So presumably if one of the top 3 won the cup, the champions league place would go to the runners up ??

Say Millwall ? the runners up to Man U a few years back ?

This doesnt make any sense to me at all.. It was hard getting into the top 4 a few years back, but I would say almost impossible to break the Top 3, we cant compete with Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal over a season.

I?m glad its staying like it is..
Pete Sully
11   Posted 13/11/2007 at 18:17:11

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Dead simple solution to all this ECL / FA Cup rubbish ...just bring back the ECWC...genius innit..
Terry Maddock
12   Posted 14/11/2007 at 10:45:13

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Id like something along the lines of the American Football draft system brought in, a wage cap, and a cap on transfers..that brings all clubs onto an even financial keel,

The superbowl is won by a different team virtually every year..wereas in soccer everything is won by the richest..who then get richer..and so on....performance rated wages would also ensure no more sulking prima donnas....but for this to happen the richest clubs would actulally have to want a competative league...unfortunately ..they dont
Rob Nolan
13   Posted 14/11/2007 at 11:35:55

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[[ Rob N, We shouldn?t be trying to break into the G14, we should be trtying to dissolve it?s power.]]

I didn?t say we should break into the G14 I said "break their hold" ... as in dissolve their power.

[[ By involving smaller nations in the tournament, nations who have earnt their place by winning their respective leagues, a marked shift is made towards the old style of European competition. ]]

I?m sorry but that simply makes no sense whatsoever. The "top four" are still getting into the competition. It?s now easier for third; slightly more difficult for fourth. Overall that?s about even. As for these "champions" of smaller nations, while some people enjoy that the semantic issue is slightly less cloudy, in reality they provide less competition for the G14 teams. We?ve had some 7-0 and 8-0 results in the CL lately -- get ready for some 10-0 and 13-0 because these teams are going to get destroyed. Watching lesser nation champions getting destroyed isn?t my idea of dissolving the G14.
Dawson Boyle
14   Posted 14/11/2007 at 22:31:33

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Thanks for replying Rob.

It was under duress from the G14 that Platini altered his plans for the ’smaller’ nations. He originally wanted them to gain automatic qualification therefore meaning less places for the ’big four.’

It was because of the usual ’breakaway league’ pressure that his cohorts backed down and the new compromise I agree is no good for anyone.

Your argument abount 7-0 drubbings is extremely patronising to these clubs. If you were to apply the same logic to domestic competitions it would seem pointless to allow non league clubs into the FA cup. The fact is, these teams don’t enter the competition assuming they will win it, sometimes they even get tanked, but sometimes they win and the competition is all the better for it. Who didn’t enjoy watching FC Copenhagen taking points of Man Utd for example?

Every time UEFA balk at the behest of the G14 the rich elite get stronger. By refusing to compromise, on any issue, their bargaining strength is dissolved, semantics or not.

On a personal note, I would happily sit and watch thirteen - nils for a few seasons because I know every time these clubs come back their coffers will be swelled and they’ll be a little bit stronger. Occassionaly, although Ferguson et al would like to disagree, football springs a few suprises. Where’s your romance man?
Rob Nolan
15   Posted 15/11/2007 at 11:12:38

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[[ Your argument abount 7-0 drubbings is extremely patronising to these clubs. ]]

True though. Fact of the matter is that this makes things easier for the G14 -- which is exactly the opposite of my idea of "romance" when it comes to football.

The odd upset here and there does nothing for me. First off they?re most likely to occur in the group stages (as most of the smaller teams will be eliminated after that stage) which means the big team will have ample time to recover and still qualify. So ultimately what?s the use? At least in the FA Cup an upset means elimination -- with group stages and two legs the chances for actual upset eliminations in the CL are reduced.

As for the champions of Latvia (or wherever) getting CL money -- it?s nowhere near enough to bother the G14 ... might be enough to strengthen their squads to the point they could knock us out of the UEFA Cuo though.

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