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Cojones grandes

by   |   07/05/2015  Comments (20)  jump

Spanish football is facing a permanent strike over the cash advantage gained by Real and Barca from negotiating their own TV rights.

According to a man-in-the-know on Al Jazeera these two clubs rake in €140m per season, compared to the next best Sevilla's total of $17-$18m. A ratio he said was 1:7.

According to him the PL ratio is 1:1.6 from bottom to top.

However, as I've moaned on these pages more than enough over the last ten years that the top 4 CL qualification stifles the competitive nature of the domestic league, only propping up the clubs vital to the PL brand in keeping them top, what are the chances of clubs growing a pair as they did in '92 and challenge the system?

Mike Ashley is roundly criticised for lack of ambition, but he knows like we all do no one is breaking the top 4 so why throw Spurs/Liverpool types of cash and bankrupt the club, whether or not FFP would allow it. All the chairman are businessmen, even BK, surely they know things need to change as all the other clubs are in the lower tier of a two tier league.

So what would it look like? If clubs demanded a redistribution of CL places to the champions, winners of domestic cups and (if fair-play can give a Europa league place, why not...) the best spend/points ratio.

Having the strongest English representation in Europe is a false argument. The same 4 teams are separate to English football and only represent themselves and when Europe is detrimental to the competitive nature of the domestic scene it is wrong. Simply wrong.

So what I'm asking is, is there an appetite from the chairman in the 'world's greatest league' to follow the Spanish example, to take stance and save football, or do we continue to wear a collective pair of damp trousers from pissing in the wind?

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Reader Comments (20)

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Patrick Murphy
1 Posted 07/05/2015 at 17:33:53
The Champions League should be left to what it is supposed to be and that is for the Champions of each country, not the elite Â’also ransÂ’ cup.

If only the Champions of each nation alongside the holders of the trophy were admitted to the competition that in itself would strengthen the Europa League and could provide a more even distribution of the rewards as clubs such as Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea et al would demand more money for playing in the second-tier tournament.

It wouldnÂ’t make it any easier for clubs like Everton to progress but it would level out the competition. It would also ensure that teams would try and win their own leagues rather than settling for the top 4 positions which would enhance the domestic game and may help smaller clubs to win the domestic cup competitions as all the Â’bigÂ’ clubs would concentrate their resources on trying to win the Premier League.

Less participants in the Champions League could also mean that Tuesday night could be CL night and Wednesday nights could be for the Europa League, taking out the need for the Thursday / Sunday situation which seems not to suit English teams in particular.

Uefa wonÂ’t do any of this though, because they are more interested in making money via commercial deals and TV rights rather than the good of the game, but I believe those changes that I advocate could re-invigorate the game for the supporters although it probably wouldnÂ’t alter the pecking order of the current elites.

Terry Murphy
2 Posted 07/05/2015 at 21:49:15
The top four are literally in another league. This was obvious from the moment UEFA suggested their Champions League. Every single argument made then is just as valid now, only now we have the evidence to back it up. Will it change? Will it feck.
Denis Richardson
4 Posted 07/05/2015 at 23:01:56
The CL was only designed to create more games for TV and get the ’big’ clubs playing against each other more to boost ratings and cash – it actually has very little to do with football as the same clubs reach the last stages year on year. There is very little chance of an upset. The end game being a european super league at some point presumably.

As for Everton, to be honest IÂ’m getting to the stage that I could not really give a shit where we finish in the league (as long as we donÂ’t go down). Whether we finish 7th or 14th, other than money (again), who really cares? WeÂ’re not going to get into top 4. I just want us to finally win something. League Cup, FA Cup or EL... IÂ’m not fussy. 20 years without a trophy and only one poxy final reached. Pathetic.

Harold Matthews
5 Posted 07/05/2015 at 23:25:06
Denis. I think I feel the same.
Michael Winstanley
6 Posted 08/05/2015 at 01:30:36
Whilst the money is available weÂ’ll smile in them trousers Nick. Riches beyond belief but no chance of winning, why would anyone rock the boat?

Andy Crooks
7 Posted 08/05/2015 at 20:52:09
Good article, Nick. At the moment every team in the country outside the top four provide provide little more than a backdrop against which the rich get richer. However, without this backdrop of reality the sky bandwagon would look more and more like WWF.

We can settle for enough crumbs to keep us in existence or demand fair treatment.

Mike Allison
8 Posted 09/05/2015 at 09:39:42
Nick, I donÂ’t understand your point. The Spanish dispute is about trying to get their system to be like ours. We already have what they want, so what would we follow their lead for?

IÂ’d personally be in favour of putting the FA Cup winners into the Champions League ahead of 4th place, but the problem with the Champions League is not an English one, itÂ’s a European one.

As Denis explains, the Champions League was never set up on football grounds, it was seen as an opportunity to make more money by having the same glamorous teams play each other more regularly, as well as providing those teams with a more secure income. They now pretty much know theyÂ’ll be in the Champions League rather than having to take their turn every couple of years when they win the title, this way they can budget accordingly and pay transfer fees and wages above what other teams in the league can afford.

If you want some kind of ballsy standing up to the big boys, what you need is every other team in Europe to agree to kick out the likes of Man Utd, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich from their domestic league, and that obviously isnÂ’t going to happen.

The leading clubs in Europe were allowed to form a cabal in the late 90s, as Uefa failed to stand up to them due to the threat (real or imagined) of a breakaway super league. You can buy your way in with the type of money Chelsea and Man City attracted, but it is basically a closed shop. This has nothing to do with English clubs and redistributing our Champions League places, itÂ’s a Europe-wide issue. Your suggestion is basically just letting others have a turn, which defeats the whole idea of setting up the Champions League in the first place.

Personally I would love the revolution to take place, and the biggest 20 clubs in Europe to suddenly have to set up a new league, outside the control of Fifa and Uefa and thus unable to play any traditional competitions or international football. I think their fans would revolt and theyÂ’d back down, but I wonÂ’t be holding my breath any time soon.

Nick Entwistle
9 Posted 10/05/2015 at 08:19:31
Mike, this post isnÂ’t about the CL, its about the PL.

The Spanish are striking for fair distribution of tv revenue to make a fair top flight.

The PL should strike to redistribute the CL places to make a fair top flight.

The specifics are different but the reasons are the same. Though our problem is I believe more fault than design when Newcastle and Leeds imploded at the same time the 4th spot was granted and the teams in 7th and 8th (Boro/Bolton) couldnÂ’t bridge the gap between them and Chelsea/ Liverpool. ThatÂ’s how the top 4 got cemented. Either way, CL qualification rules are detrimental to the domestic competition.

Bobby Thomas
10 Posted 10/05/2015 at 12:13:12
End of season play off from 4th to 7th for the final Champions League place would instantly re-invigorate the league.
Winston Williamson
11 Posted 10/05/2015 at 20:40:24
ThatÂ’s actually a good idea Bobby. But IÂ’d have it 4th - 11th for play-offs for the last Champions League place. It opens up the opportunity to more clubs...
Paul Hewitt
12 Posted 10/05/2015 at 21:01:44
The CL should be what it says – Champions... and maybe the runners up. That won't happen but I think seedings should be scrapped – all teams in a bag and just draw. That way, we would end these boring group games with the big clubs always qualifying.
Nick Entwistle
13 Posted 11/05/2015 at 08:46:39
You could actually do 2nd through 9th in the play offs. And if they were seeded...

2 v 9
3 v 8
4 v 7
5 v 6

All at neutral venues. But cup winners deserve it more, no?

Nathan Cross
14 Posted 11/05/2015 at 08:41:00
I like BobbyÂ’s idea but, in keeping with the "cojones grandes" theme, IÂ’ll advocate taking it even further and using the Mexican leagueÂ’s format.

In Mexico, they essentially have two seasons in a year – autumn ("apertura") and spring ("clausura"), and play each team in the league once in the autumn and once in the spring. At the end of each season, the top eight teams enter home-and-away playoffs to determine the champions.

IÂ’m not a huge fan of Mexican league football, but I usually do watch a few games in the playoffs each season on TV here in the States, and itÂ’s fantastically exciting stuff usually. IÂ’m a huge fan of knockout football, and I know this concept wonÂ’t appeal to the purists, but it also serves to level the playing field dramatically.

Leon won both titles last year, and they operate on a shoestring budget compared to Mexico’s big boys – America and Guadalajara. And if you look at all their champions from the last 10 years, you won’t be able to make out anything like the type of oligopoly that’s taken over the PL.

Ben Howard
15 Posted 11/05/2015 at 19:11:51
Knowing our luck theyÂ’d change the qualification to domestic winners only the year we finish 4th. I realise I sound like a bitter Blue!
Mike Allison
16 Posted 12/05/2015 at 14:56:28
But the Champions League places go to the teams that finish highest in the league. That is fair. What would they be striking about?

Are you saying you want it to be made less fair so that we have a chance? I canÂ’t really see an argument in your post other than "theyÂ’re hogging it, itÂ’s not fair".

The only thing that could be done would be to redistribute the Champions League prize money amongst the other clubs, so that when Chelsea win a game and get ١m or whatever it is, that money is split 20 ways between all the Premier League clubs. That may be illegal for all I know. You canÂ’t just redistribute the prizes randomly to give everyone a turn though – what would be the point in doing well?

Eric Myles
17 Posted 12/05/2015 at 15:13:23
Paul #77, but that would return the tournament to the old European Cup format where a team would only have to play 4 other teams to win it, or even 3 as our neighbours did in Â’78.
Andrew Ellams
18 Posted 12/05/2015 at 15:39:41
There was talk about merging both competitions into a single 16 group competition. That, whilst still not ideal, is probably the best suggestion that I have heard as longer as they play fair with the prize money.
Nick Entwistle
19 Posted 13/05/2015 at 09:00:19
Mike, it's no more or less fair than giving the spots to cup winners and to a play-off winner.

You can argue that the top 4 are the best so they get to go Champions League, I can argue that being in the Champions League means only they get to be top 4.

If you want the CL and the same four clubs who qualify, to be more important than our top flight, fine. WeÂ’ll agree to disagree.

Dennis Stevens
20 Posted 17/05/2015 at 11:54:48
I like the idea that only the League Champion & Runner-up qualify automatically, with the third spot being decided by a play-off between the next 4 teams & the last spot going to the FA Cup winner.

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