It is likely that we will start next season not knowing which club is in which division





By Tony Attwood

It has been thought for some time that with a fifth place in the Champions League being available next season, the Premier League would of course get it.  This was because two leagues will be getting an extra place based on performance in Europe this season, as part of the expansion to a 36-team competition.  Tottenham saw it as their safety line.

But with Aston Villa the only English team in the semi-finals and that only in the Conference, it seems unlikely that England will get the fifth team.

This is a bit of a surprise since the level of income for Premier League clubs has meant that in the European transfer market they have become quite good at outbidding other countries for players, and with tempting players to stay, with higher salaries.

But it is also noted that all the English teams have gone from the Champions League  – quite possibly because it is somewhat more competitive than the Premier League

In fact European football leagues fall into one of two models.   In one the same team wins year after year, having just the occasional break.  Germany and France are the two obvious examples, joined of late of course by England.

In Italy and Spain however matters are different.  Italy has had four different winners in the last five years, while Spain has had three different winners in the last three years.

This is not to say that the race to the title is not tight this time.  For example the distance between first and fifth place in the Italian League is 31 points.  In the Spanish League is 23 points – the same as in Germany.  In France it is 21 points.  In the Premier League it is 17 points.   Still large, but less than elsewhere.

But there is no denying that of late the Premier League has come to look like the German league.  Compare that with Italy where there have actually been four different winners in the last five years.

What has happened in fact is that the very big clubs in these some leagues work not only to bring in the occasional big name player, but also to buy up top players from the academies of Championship clubs, thus not only getting a talented player for themselves but also ensuring that no Championship club can build team that will make it possible for them to hold on to a mid-table position in the Premier League having once gained promotion.

The only thing that can upset this cosy situation is the new regulator, with PL clubs talking about any change to the current system as being “dangerous” and “de-stabilising”.   The latter is particularly bizarre since the stability of the current situation is that clubs that come up from the Championship will most likely go back down again.  One only has to look at the foot of the current table to see that happening.

Richard Masters, the MD of the Premier League recently wrote in the Times, “We have spent the past year in discussions with the EFL about an even more generous financial settlement. But these talks have only served to highlight how destabilising intervention could be.

“The EFL has indicated it would happily accept a generous new deal from the Premier League but would also immediately use the new regulator to seek even more money for its clubs, including the Championship, which is already the sixth-richest league in Europe, with many very wealthy club owners of its own.”

Or translated, “we don’t want any of these pesky smaller clubs coming up and taking a regular PL slot from one of our own.”  Witness the foot of the PL table for proof.

In the midst of all this CNN recently published an interesting piece “‘Peasants vs. Marie Antoinette’:  Headlined, “What the Premier League does with its billions of dollars is riling 72 other soccer clubs” they highlight what seems to be the thinking in many boardrooms.  This is,“As we’ve seen on many issues, football fans have remarkably short memories when it suits them and the focus within a few weeks, once the dust has settled on relegation, will be on who’s coming up, who’s going to be signed and so on in terms of summer transfer activity.”

It is this sort of contempt for fans that runs through much of the media, through PGMO with their secrecy, and indeed through many of the Premier League boardrooms

And there is more trouble waiting in the wings.  Leicester City have been charged not just by their current league (The Championship) but also by the Premier League, and are thus facing two sets of financial charges from two different organisations.

Their response is unsurprising.  They are suing both the Premier League and the Championship at the same time.   At this rate we could start next season not knowing which club is in which division and with the court rooms being more entertaining that the football pitches.

One Reply to “It is likely that we will start next season not knowing which club is in which division”

  1. Apparently, FIFA are not happy with the Spanish Government’s intervention in RFEF elections to replace Luis Rubiales.

    Watch out, regulators.

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