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Yet another international tournament. It is time to stand up and say “f*** off Uefa”

By Tony Attwood

Uefa is considering launching a nine division European league for nations, colonies and territories.   It claims the games of the new league can be played in the periods set aside at the moment for friendly matches, but there looks like every chance of this being another thin edge of a very thick wedge which is set up to generate more and more cash for Uefa at the expense of the clubs and their players.

It is to be called the Nations League, and its existence was recently leaked to a Norwegian paper.  Uefa have confirmed that talks are ongoing but that no decision has yet been taken.

The Guardian newspaper in England, picking up on the story, has suggested that the divisions will be made up of:

  • Division 1: Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Portugal
  • Division 2: Russia, Greece, Croatia, Sweden, France, Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Division 3: Ukraine, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Hungary, Czech Republic
  • Division 4: Ireland, Serbia, Norway, Slovakia, Turkey, Israel
  • Division 5:Slovenia, Austria, Romania, Montenegro, Poland, Finland
  • Division 6: Scotland, Armenia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus
  • Division 7: Wales, Northern Ireland, Albania, Iceland, Lithuania, Macedonia
  • Division 8: Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Kazakhstan
  • Division 9: Liechtenstein, Faeroe Islands, Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar
The bottom team in each group would be relegated and replaced by the winners of the group below.
On a home and away basis this would mean 10 games per nation, which would take several seasons to complete – but Uefa are bound to want the matches completed at most every two years and so would increase the number of games available each year.  In short more internationals.
Uefa also wants to introduce regular international weeks of football, to generate even more TV revenue from internationals with Uefa having central control over the marketing rights of the whole competition.  It would in effect being Champions League of Nations.

The idea is to start in 2020, and from that point on all friendlies will be abandoned, and players will be encouraged to play for eleven months of the year.  Since the international teams don’t pay players and have no interest in their long term health, no concern for burn out is built into the programme.

The only countries standing up against the plan are the bigger nations who get occasional friendlies against Brazil, Argentina and the like, which usually fill the stadia.   It is possible that they will only agree to the plan if Uefa then agree to install even more friendly dates around the new Nations League dates.Given that the TV companies will buy into this, they will then mount a major propaganda campaign to tell us how good it is.  And the only way I can see of counteracting this is for those of us who really dislike international football to go to non league or lower league games played around the same time, and show our support for local teams, not fabricated national sides.

17 comments to Yet another international tournament. It is time to stand up and say “f*** off Uefa”

  • AP

    I agree. Too much not very interesting international football to kill off players faster and faster.

  • Lobster

    Sounds like a plan to me. Im not much of a UEFA man (really, IM NOT) but this tournament would incorporate more meaning to international football, by scrapping out the utterly useless friendlies and having a legitimate reason for players to go out on these “breaks”.
    And many people who earn MUCH LESS money, and contribute more to the world than sportsmen work 11 months a year, so I don’t see that as being a material concern

    Let’s not forget that International Football is a MASSIVE part of the game. Bigger than any league

  • colario

    Ignoring for a moment the practical problems of such a league it would bring to an end the crazy situation we have now.
    The very small nations have to play against the likes of Germany (in the last round we had Germany v Iceland)not once but twice and these small nations are never going to qualify for the final rounds be it for Europe or the World cup. At the moment these small nations serve only as whipping boys for even England.

    However when I see the line up for leagues 7, 8 and 9 then
    we still have the second problem of the present set up. The small nations travelling 1000s of miles to play each other. Its crazy.
    Today we have Iceland v Cyprus. To compel two small nations this far apart to play each other is stupid. If they were strong football nations that would at least be something.

    To night we have Russia v Luxemburg! I can see no point in this game.

    I think the last three leagues could be regional leagues.

    As to the administration of the leagues. I think the leagues should consist of 4 or 5 teams this would mean 4 or 5 competitive games a season.
    I think the games could be held over the two years the European Cup is played and the present European Cup format abandoned.

  • colario

    Got my maths wrong there ‘it would mean 3 or 4 games a season.’

    Tony I have been trying to reach you via your asia e mail and all I get is a standard reply that naturally doesn’t acknowledge the points in my e mail.

  • Rufusstan

    UEFA wants to introduce a new tournament in 2020 that likely means more internationals, (assuming the ’20-’21 season) and competitive ones at that.

    FIFA wants to move the 2022 world cup from the end of the ’21-’22 season to the winter. Logically it will be Jan/Feb 2022. Sooooo…..

    The ’19-’20 season ends with the Regional tournaments (European Championships), which means the big players don’t get much rest and a proper pre-season.

    The ’20-’21 season because much more congested because of the new competition, but more importantly because you now have to fit an entire world cup qualifying program into that season.

    The reason for this is you need around 6 months lead time for the logistics (sell tickets/hotel rooms, plan schedules etc). Worse, you’d have to front load the group games to avoid the end of the season match pile-up, so add maybe another 10 internationals by March, and then the playoffs June/July.

    Some players might get a late finish to the season due to the qualifiers. That and an early start to the next season means a second season where player may not get a proper rest and preseason.

    ’21-’22 is a nightmare. Taking 2 months out of the season for the World cup means shifting matches. Arsenal played 13 games in Jan/Feb last year, including 8 league games.

    You can move the league games before Christmas if you start the season a bit earlier, but the others have to go after Feb, which probably means finishing in June. Then add the new UEFA internationals on top.

    With the ’22-’23 season, you either start as normal, which means you have players who have not had a proper rest and pre-season in 3 years. Alternatively you move the season back a week or 2, but then squeeze the fixtures in that season, especially with Euro qualifiers and the new international league games.

    Good luck with that.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    If UEFA push too hard on this the big clubs might break away entirely and form a Super League on their own.

    Interesting…the game started at the local level but there are now 4 levels of parasites.

    The FA wants to make money off of them and so there is the FA cup (venerable though she may be), the league wants money so you have a league cup, FIFA has the World Cup and the Confederations Cup and UEFA has the Europa League,the Champions League, the European championship and now a “League of Nations”. And yet the only ones that pay salaries are the clubs.

  • Rufusstan

    @Colario — I agree with a lot of the points, but I must admit, I read this as an as well as, rather than an instead of with the European Championships.

    From UEFA’s viewpoint, there has to be more money in the prestigious knockout tournament, because of the summer setting, and no clash with the league, so it doesn’t make sense for them to give it up.

    I agree about the travel issues, but that is going to be an issue however you run things.

    I do wonder how the teams in leagues 7,8,9 would feel like this is an instead of. With no friendlies, they get no opportunity to ever play any of the major teams, except in the world cup.

  • Rufusstan

    @Lobster — the issue is mostly not money, but fatigue. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2657020/ and dozens of other studies prove what most people have known for ages; tired players get injured more often.

    This idea introduces more games at a point when players will already be stretched to the limit. They are competitive international games players have to play if called up, and have more impact that a friendly would.

    The only place money comes into this is with injuries. A much as everyone hates the idea, players are a huge investment for their clubs. 10s of millions for the player and wages, and potentially larger sums in lost income, if they are harmed by injuries.

    Other sports have mechanisms to avoid this — like Cricket’s central contracts, but put simply, national FAs cannot afford to pay for the toys they borrow, should they break them.

  • Mahdain

    I see a players strike if they actually go ahead with this one. They are humans afterall and not machines. Heck even machines wear out. Gold digging pricks is what uefa are

  • AL

    Off topic, but I see the ‘useless’ Bendtner scored a brace against the Italians. If only he could reproduce the form for country for his club…

  • colario

    Rufusstan. If it is as well as then I am against it. I do think the preliminary rounds of the two competitions we have now could be better organised.

  • colario

    Al. I think the boss eventually lost his patience with the ‘Great Dane’. Unfortunately ’52’ was to big for everyone to handle and so he has stayed.

    May be this international showing will help his case with the boss. I am sure he will watch game and measure the ‘GD’s’ performance.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Bloodsuckers……

    A vampire bat came flapping in from the night, face all covered in fresh blood and parked himself on the roof of the cave to get some sleep.

    Pretty soon all the other bats smelled the blood & began hassling him about where he got it. He told them to piss off & let him get some sleep, but they persisted until he finally gave in.

    “OK, follow me”, he said & flew out of the cave with hundreds of excited bats behind him.

    Down through a valley they went, across a river & into a huge forest. Finally he slowed down & all the other bats excitedly milled around him, tongues hanging out for blood.

    “Do you see that large oak tree over there?” he asked.

    “YES, YES, YES!!!” the bats all screamed in a frenzy.

    “Good for you!” said the bat, “Because I fucking didn’t !!”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    That Lousy Slacker…

    General Motors, feeling it was time for a shake-up, hired a new CEO. The new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers.

    On a tour of the facilities, the CEO noticed a guy leaning on a wall. The room was full of workers and he wanted to let them know that he meant business.

    He walked up to the guy leaning against the wall and asked, “How much money do you make a week?”

    A little surprised, the young man looked at him and replied, “I make $400 a week. Why?”

    The CEO then hands the guy $1,600 in cash and screams, “Here’s four weeks’ pay, now GET OUT and don’t come back!”

    Feeling pretty good about himself, the CEO looked around the room and asked, “Does anyone want to tell me what that bloody slacker did here?”

    From across the room came a voice: “That was the pizza delivery guy from Domino’s.”

  • Gooner S

    Really not at all interested.

    Uefa has managed to kill stone dead the Uefa cup and The Cup Winners Cup.There are too many games that mean nothing. I would rather have the home internationals back and include Ireland and possibly France.

  • Unbelievable belief

    The League of Nations didn’t work too well the first time around.
    They couldn’t stop Italty and Germany playing in scheduled away fixtures against Ethiopia and Czechoslovakia respectively.

    What happens of some zillionaire buys a National franchise and moves it?
    Andorra would be handy – just in between France and Spain, handy fixtures to generate revenue.
    (A bit like Wigan).

  • ataf

    fuck off uefa!