By Tony Attwood
The Sun ran it first. The Big Clubs around Europe are planning to break away. A new Euro League. Shock horror. Evil money grabbing swine. Etc etc, you know how it goes.
Or maybe they were just talking about the International Champions Cup series, the pre-season competition in which clubs fly to Australia or China and play each other for reasons that never becomes particularly clear, get tired and fly back again.
Or maybe they were talking about actually playing champions league matches in the Far East instead of in Europe. It is hard to say, because each paper reporting the story is quite sure they are right, and no one is acknowledging that other papers are running different versions.
Oh and it wasn’t a meeting. It was a “summit”. The Telegraph says so. Except another article in the same paper says it is all a press stunt to up the value of the European games on TV. “Serious talk of a breakaway elite club competition surfaces almost exclusively during the months leading up to the sale of Uefa’s broadcast contracts – from the 1998 threat from the Italian-based Media Partners to the 2013 claims by Galatasaray president Unal Aysal.”
And wait, what’s this? The Teleg also says that the discussion was about re-arranging the Champions League to have more knock out matches and change the way the whole thing works. Different Champs League, but the same.
It really is confusing. And all this on the anniversary of the day that a corgi bit the Queen and she had to have stitches. Well! [I’ll have to stop you there Tony, Liverpool! now own the copyright on the exclamation mark and you are not allowed to use it anywhere else! ooops.] I mean, if the newspapermen down the pub can’t even agree on what the story is, how are we poor saps who read the news supposed to take it?
It all came out of talks that five Premier League clubs had, and which the Super Soaraway “we’ve never knowingly printed the truth ever” Sun thought was to do with the Super League.
Apparently Manchester United, Liverpool! Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal all had a meeting with an American guy called Stephen Ross (apparently a 75-year-old estate agent with a net worth of £4.8 billion who owns Miami Dolphins, or possibly some dolphins in Miami) at the Dorchester. It was a “cloak-and-dagger meeting” meeting according to the disreputable rag, so cloak and dagger that the Sun seemed to rumble the whole story without even having to use a Fake Sheik.
So it is going to be an invitation-only continental super league with all the usual suspects in place, Barcelona, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, etc etc, and it would “all but spell the end of the UEFA Champions League.” I am not sure what the “all but” bit means, but anyway, it’s the Sun so who cares? Oh yes and it would “not just be a hammer blow to the Premier League but also to Uefa.” So maybe that’s good then.
Part of the problem for Europe apparently is that the new TV deal for the Premier League is so big that the competition is becoming so much more balanced than the leagues in the likes of Spain (where the top three are always the same and everyone else faces relegation) or Germany (where Bayern Munich win the league seven in every ten years) that the Big Clubs want something different.
But hey, what’s this? Apparently Uefa is thinking of running a third competition to go alongside the Champions League, and the Europa Cup. Of course there used to be three competitions, as we used to have the Cup Winners Cup. Now the third competition will be for teams that are knocked out in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League.
Well I guess they will have to come from several different countries, otherwise there isn’t much point getting too worked up is there?
Spain has got three of these beings: Real Mad Real Estate, Atletico Mad, and Barcelona Childcare. They are always at the top so that is easy.
France has got PSG, and really no one else near them. Do you see how far ahead PSG are?
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Italy have got a number of clubs in trouble, plus Juventus who under the Treaty of Utrecht always win and then occasionally get found out to have been cheating a lot. AC Milan and Inter are lurking around and would expect a place.
The trouble with this is that there are other clubs in the way…
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Should Ajax be in it? They’ve won the European Cup lots of times after all. Well, yes but they are actually second at the moment and PSV is top – and there’s Feyenoord too.
Germany I guess have three: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, and Bayern will have to play Real Mad, Barcelona and a specially invited guest team in the play off finals. Otherwise it wouldn’t work.
And then England. Would these other guys actually let England have five teams when other countries are limited to three or less?
Who knows, since we don’t actually know that they were talking about football at all. Maybe the American estate agent was trying to sell the other guys some retirement homes in Florida.
Anyway, the “so-called big five” as the so-called Sun Says, would include
- Man U
- Man C
I’m not really sure why Liverpool! has to be there as they haven’t won anything for ten years, but they have won the European Cup several times, so maybe that’s it.
Which then leaves Tottenham to go on and win the Premier League in colour for the first time I suppose.
Anyway that gives us five from England, three from Germany, three from Spain, which is 11, and if the idea was to have 16 or 20 clubs from other countries could make up the balance. No relegation or promotion, and Professional Match Game Fixers to do the refereeing.
There we are. There is the future.
Depending on which paper you read.
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The insult of the day
She’s the kitchen went and all grease: and I know not what use to put her to but to make a lamp of her and run from her by her own light. (A Comedy of Errors)