Everything That's Wrong About the Future of the UEFA Champions League

Thursday, 1 April, 2021 24comments  |  Jump to last
In an excellent piece for SI.com, Jonathan Wilson writes that under the new proposals for European football's increasingly closed shop, "there will be more games, more money guaranteed to the elite clubs and more that's focused on everything except the sanctity of sport and competition."

» Read the full article at Sports Illustrated


Reader Comments (24)

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Christine Foster
1 Posted 03/04/2021 at 00:43:55
Excellent article, Lyndon, condemnation of this is required by all concerned; frankly, those who want to go, go. Make your super league, Uefa have a responsibility to all football clubs and, if not, then Uefa become irrelevant and a mockery.

It's not progress, it's retrograde to every club in the land bar a handful we would be better off without. Perhaps as we have left the EU we should leave Uefa and be governed by a body focused on football in the UK.

One thing is certain: the formulation of this model is to the detriment of all teams outside the competition. It is a half-arsed attempt to have your cake and eat it. If you choose to compete with them you should not compete in domestic leagues or competitions. Let them go and no coming back... A far better ultimatum.

Derek Thomas
2 Posted 03/04/2021 at 00:57:30
Have your cake and eat it, closed shop monopoly by another name, relegating the outsiders to fend for them selves except when the elite want some warm up games.

While we're quoting proverbs, I hope all of the other European teams and all their Football Associations, grasp the nettle and take the risk of cutting their noses off to spite their face, and tell them - right, off you go then and don't let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.

Don Alexander
3 Posted 03/04/2021 at 01:43:49
Prescient article Lyndon, genuinely, as is the attached article which spells out the British fear of masturbation among other important things. Having pondered deeply on this issue for all of a second or two I just wonder whether the Swiss decades ago got it right, unlike us, by naming their main footy stadium the "Wankdorf" instead of Wembley? We missed a trick there.

"If you've got it, flaunt it" is my motto. Just ask my Probation Officer! Never did me any harm.

Kieran Kinsella
4 Posted 03/04/2021 at 02:50:01
Christine

You bring up a good point regarding the EU. We now have the only major European league not in the EU which means presumably we are not inextricably entwined legally on matters that go to court, eg, Boaman. So I think, if we make enough fuss, it'll be harder than before for Uefa to force us to comply.

Derek Moore
5 Posted 03/04/2021 at 04:25:30
The EU/Brexit thing is a bit of a furphy to be honest guys. It's probably fair to remind everyone that, with their own peculiar political and regional situation, Israel is a member of Uefa. Uefa is an administrative body that you sign an agreement to align your rules with as required. Brexit is not going to alter that.

Where Brexit will have an impact is in the probable medium- and long-term decline in the value of the Pound against the Euro. The ability to pay the top wages in football and therefore attract the very best players could well end up under serious threat. I suspect this is a root motivation for the so-called European Super League we keep hearing about. I think there's a few top English clubs looking to guarantee future income streams in Euros and are driving this European Super League agenda further and faster than ever before.

This isn't going away either. It's essentially about hedging risk for the top clubs, the amounts of money at stake are enormous.

Kieran Kinsella
6 Posted 03/04/2021 at 04:38:26
The reality is though when we talk about these “big clubs” driving this, outside of England you're at most taking of five clubs: Juve, Bayern, Real, Barce and PSG. Whereas in England alone we seemingly have “the big six.”

Given that Barce are virtually bankrupt, and Bayern claim they want to preserve the Bundesliga, what's to stop the Premier League telling Agnelli, Qatar and the latest Real Madrid president to go fuck themselves? The balance of power is very much with the Premier League.

Derek Moore
7 Posted 03/04/2021 at 05:21:36
I feel you may have missed the point, Kieran. There is a fear by the moneymen that the Euro will appreciate significantly against the Pound over the medium term.

When it seemed as if the Greeks too might flee the Euro currency area and reinstate the Drachma, the effect upon the football there was illustrative in this regard. Players were fleeing to Rangers (then in the bottom of the Scottish structure) as an example.

The top English clubs want a future where a big part of their income is earned in Euros; the irony being Brexit could end up inadvertently causing a European Super League by pushing the really big English clubs to hedge their currency risk and strike out.

The Premier League has no balance of power whatsoever in my view. The European clubs can afford to play hard to get, they understand the situation as well as anybody else.

It'll be fascinating to see how it plays out, but ultimately it seems as if football really is intent on eating itself. Doesn't it?

Darren Hind
8 Posted 03/04/2021 at 06:33:34
Christine,

Get paid.

Christine Foster
9 Posted 03/04/2021 at 07:51:13
Sorry Darren, I have eaten too much chocolate? Get paid? Have I put my foot in something I shouldn't? My apologies if I have!
Christine Foster
10 Posted 03/04/2021 at 09:13:59
Derek (Moore) leaving Uefa because we are no longer in Europe is perhaps a red herring, but in reality when does it cease to be relevant to all but the wealthiest clubs? Tail wagging dog? But will football be better off in the UK without the 3 or 4 clubs who want a closed shop? Where entry to the Champions league is not necessarily based on performance or league placing? No longer a Champions league but a select gentlemen club who raise barriers to entry based on value to them alone. It is an affront to all clubs and all supporters. I have absolutely no problem with a selective league based on whatever criteria you like, but they should not be allowed to compete in what they will see as secondary national competitions that devalue the opposition and the competition itself.There is a price to pay by those who want a super league, it should be punitive. It should be irreversible. Finally, if Everton FC ever wanted membership in such a league, I would want, expect a conversation with supporters over the value of joining.
Rob Halligan
11 Posted 03/04/2021 at 09:24:35
Christine # 9. Darren is agreeing with what you say @ # 1.
Christine Foster
12 Posted 03/04/2021 at 09:28:02
Rob, to be honest I wasn't sure! Sort of get a job lol..
Rob Halligan
13 Posted 03/04/2021 at 09:42:56
And by the way, so do I. If any team wants to join a European super league, then let them. As you say, once they’re gone, they’re gone. No coming back, no playing in the fa cup or the league cup (if it’s still around). I think the fans of these clubs won’t want it, and certainly won’t be able to afford travelling abroad to support their team. I just hope that if it happens then Spurs aren’t invited to join, because to me, they don’t deserve to be part of an “elite group” of clubs from this country. In my opinion, we are just as big, if not a bigger club than Spurs, and once BMD is built, we will be a bigger club than them. Don’t forget, Spurs, along with us, were one of the original “Big Five” clubs from the football league who voted on the formation of the premier league. Spurs have done nothing since the premier league was formed nearly thirty years ago, except play a few seasons in the champions league.
Colin Glassar
14 Posted 03/04/2021 at 10:00:45
This ‘super league’ BS reminds me a bit of (and I hate cricket) Kerry Packer’s cricket circus, or the Windies tour of apartheid South Africa or, more recently, the Indian professional league (not sure it’s called that). Teams, and players, went after the money but soon got bored of it and returned to the established game.

Russia, the Gulf nations and China have all tried to entice the best players, offering outrageous salaries, in order to boost their own leagues. They have all failed!!

This ‘super league’ will fail too. It will become boring and predictable. Some will say that’s what’s happening here with Man City. Well, before City it was Chelsea, Man U, Arsenal and before them, the rs.

Football is cyclical and that is what Agnelli and co. are trying to reverse. They won’t succeed.

Darren Hind
15 Posted 03/04/2021 at 10:15:55
Christine

I was saying I agree 100%

I'm surprised that you - A scottie roader- didnt recognise the phrase.

You've been away too long girl.

Niall McIlhone
16 Posted 03/04/2021 at 11:26:49
Colin@14. Very good point. If the past 14 months of Covid suppression of civil liberties has taught us anything, it's that the old saying "football is nothing without the fans" is true: I cannot see fans salivating at the prospect of making a midweek trip to Moscow or somewhere? I also agree that fans would get bored playing the same opposition season on season, and the lustre of facing the likes of Real Madrid or Batern Munich would soon wear off?
What was that Groucho Marx quote? " I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member". Well, the so called Big Six should heed the great man's words.
Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 03/04/2021 at 11:58:15
Very much in the camp that if clubs opt for this, then it is them making their bed and lying in it. Unless I've missed something, with the amount of games being suggested, how could they compete in both? Unless their arrogance extends to gracing us with their B / feeder teams in the national leagues.

I do agree with Christine that the FA and other national leagues need to grow a pair and stand up to the super clubs in that respect, but think the EU thing is a bit of a rabbit hole. Throughout the entire Brexit debate I think we lost sight of the fact that the EU isn't Europe and Europe isn't the EU. As we all know, Uefa includes many non-EU countries, some that are not even in Europe, which always confused me.

May have missed something again, but 36 teams? Apart from being Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, the Milan clubs, Liverpool and Manchester United, what is the acceptance criteria to be considered for the club? Apologies, other than being inherently suspicious of this, I'm not particularly well read on the details. I was the same about the Champions League; a contradiction of terms in a name if there ever was one.

Derek Moore
18 Posted 03/04/2021 at 12:07:36
I take everything said here on board and I agree with virtually all of it. I think this ESL is a terrible idea, cynically designed, ruthlessly pitched and will be ruinous in terms of the continued popularity of the beautiful game in Europe.
But I still think it's very much going to happen. Revolutionary ideas are no guarantee of success - see Guy Fawkes. Similarly, really bad ideas that end up backfiring dreadfully happen all the time - see Football Index.
The financial stakes in football are far too high to allow the simple erosion of value through a currency devaluation. These guys who own the clubs now are the real big time, ruthless and powerful billionaires. It seems inevitable they'll be advised to break away and therefore remove the possibility of their asset declining rapidly in sterling. (As they will have this lucrative new income stream in Euros).
If anybody is familiar with the Super Rugby competition, it's structure and the issues surrounding it will even see a remarkable factual example for where I'm coming from. For those who are not, briefly: Super Rugby is a franchise rugby competition played out over four (!) continents on a week to week basis for the benefit of subscription televsion i.e Sky.
I can see English football ending up in the same place and for the same reasons.
Andy Crooks
19 Posted 03/04/2021 at 12:48:23
I really believe that a European Super League would the most important and best thing to happen our game for generations, provided those left behind get tough.
Go and you go for ever. No selection for International football for anyone taking part. As Colin Glassar says it would be like the Packer Circus in cricket. As an authentic experience of real football as the Harlem Globetrotters were to basketball. As meaningless as the Shergar Cup in horse racing. As as worthy of attention as "Superstars" or "The Worlds strongest man".
The equivalent of Jeux Sans Frontieres' pointless and desperate attempt to seem competitive. Like a kid aspiring, not to be in a band with his mates but to sell his soul directly to the glitz of Las Vegas.
An obscene, self congratulatory, backslapping circus for those who put more money than they can ever spend above genuine achievement.
Go for it Liverpool FC; the destination you truly deserve. I never watch Champions League football. I would rather watch the EFL or FA cup. I would like to watch Everton in the Champions League only because it is the ultimate goal right now, a way to compete as things stand.
When the mercenaries fuck off I hope our club never join them. I'd rather watch us play Bury in the FA cup. Please let this happen and let the rest of us get our game back.


Christine Foster
20 Posted 03/04/2021 at 12:52:17
Darren 15, have to agree, years of realising that sarcasm has no effect on Aussie or Kiwis, but goes directly over heads, or trying to do sarcastic in France, well you doubt your own eyes and ears and frankly begin losing the thread. I find I have to go back every year and sit in the cafe in Gt Homer Street market, now in Virgil street where I lived with me nan for a while (funny but everyone knows me as Ruthie down there after nan who was a Ruth) I digress, I have to have a mug of tea, a chip buttie, and just listen for an hour or two..does me the world of good..love a laugh..back in my tribe...
Ian Burns
21 Posted 03/04/2021 at 15:27:20
Some good posts on here (particularly Christine) and I agree wholeheartedly that any form of closed shop ESL is an affront to the general European football fan who supports their national league first and foremost.

However, I fear we will be fighting a losing battle because the ESL in one form or another will happen. The teams will not be thrown out of their national leagues because such as the Premier League will believe they cannot function without the likes of the "big six". We as fans would disagree but we are not in the decision process.

The Premier League will retain those who join the ESL and those who join will consistently pick a weakened team to play in the national leagues, simply because of the number of games they would have to fulfill.

I know this post will be seen as a completely negative view of the future but I fear this ESL idea in one form or another is closer than we think. Where does EFC fit? One foot in and one foot out but we need to finish in the top four sooner rather than later to be considered as an asset to the ESL.

Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 03/04/2021 at 15:36:13
You are of course right Ian. It will happen, just as phase 1, the current Champion's League did.

Also for those who remember, as did the Premier League.

Alan J Thompson
23 Posted 04/04/2021 at 07:10:25
Colin(#14); The back ground to this is nothing like Packer's World Series Cricket.

At the time TV regulations in Australia were changed to ensure a minimum Australian content and Packer owned TV Channel 9 but Test cricket was shown only on the national broadcaster (ABC). This immediately met those requirements.

Players were also vastly underpaid compared to the money that was in the game and most had to have other sources of income, 2nd jobs. If you can find the conversation between Ian Chappel, Test team Captain, and Don Bradman, Chairman of the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) which Chappel later remarked that it was as if it was Bradman's money they were discussing. The Test team were touring India when the ACB decided unilaterally that they should go on to play a series in South Africa. This provided the opening for Packer. If there was an immediate loser it was grassroots cricket in Australia. It might interest you to know that at the time cricket in Australia was almost entirely run by two blokes in Sydney while Cricket Australia now employs over 400 office staff.

Most football teams at the highest levels and the players are financially well off and mostly thanks to TV coverage and if the Premier League, the FA or Football League et al want to know how to combat it then it may be through TV rights.

Bob Parrington
24 Posted 04/04/2021 at 13:31:10
Lookin' forward to the post Covid-19 world, Uk out of Europe, no Trump and no Boris, and hopefully rid off both the Chinese and N Korean Tossers and then we might be able to get some chance to think clearly before the next bunch of freaks use their greed to take control of everything.

Taking that chance we will need to recognise that GREED is a driver in most things. Certainly it seems this way in the idea of the European Super League.

So, I agree with all those who say to these sick greedy shit-heads - NO WAY BACK! - So to the likes of the RS, Man City, Chelski, The Arse and Spurs etc - if you go, don't even dream of coming back cap in hand when it fails. Any of those persons involved in running the Super League clubs are banned from the UK leagues for a minimum of 30 to 50 years. and stick by it!!!


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