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Fifa and Uefa face the long awaited challenge to their authority

By Tony Attwood

It appears that the Guiness International Cup  featuring Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Juventus and LA Galaxy is not going to be a one off event.  Rupert Murdoch’s TV companies are planning to run a new international competition for clubs, which they will broadcast – not least because Murdoch as lost the right to the Premier League on TV  in the US.

The plan is to create a summer football competition involving the top clubs in Europe with matches being played across the world – including in the lucrative Far East market.

Manchester United, Arsenal, PSG and Chelsea will be invited – and perhaps Man City although that may be seen to compete with Man City’s new American side competing in the American league.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich will also be there.

It is currently being suggested that there will be 16 teams involved, with the series guaranteed to run for at least a decade, starting in the summer of 2015.  Quite when the clubs will play is not yet certain – but it will certainly clash with Fifa’s mindless international matches, not to mention the build up to world cups and other such summer competitions when they come around.

The TV audience is guaranteed since Sky is allied to 21st Century Fox which has outlets in Italy, Germany, Asia and the United States.  So the TV company and the competition merge into one – the “Formula One-isation of football” is one way of looking at it.

The fact that a lot of clubs are now owned by people from America obviously helps this idea get off the ground.  Refusal to negotiate on the grounds that Uefa or the FA or the Premier League won’t like it, is far less likely to happen than it might have done in the past.

In one sense we have already seen this sort of thing happening with Arsenal playing Manchester City last summer, and Chelsea playing them this summer.  Chelsea are also playing in Thailand, Malaysia, and India before the start of the coming season, while Manchester United are playing in Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong.  Arsenal of course will this year be the first club to play in Vietnam.
We have been down this road before with Kerry Packer’s take over of cricket, News Corp taking on rugby in Australia with its Super League.  They have also tried to take over Formula 1.

In 2012 the 137 clubs within the European Clubs Association agreed that they would not take part in any unlicensed activity until 2018.  However if several were to break with the agreement then Uefa would have little it could do.  It certainly could not throw out of the Champions League a dozen of its most famous clubs.

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Clearly overseas supporters go to friendlies to see top players – but it is possible that clubs could expand their squads still further and use the extended squad to play out the games – with the actual Premier League players joining in as the league progresses.  .But the competition does have to be genuinely competitive.  Season ticket holders like myself and my mates will watch all the pre-season games on TV or even on crummy feeds on computer, but there’s no real cost there.  Would we pay to see a mix of youngsters and senior players play out something that doesn’t mean much?

We will see in a couple of years time.

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6 comments to Fifa and Uefa face the long awaited challenge to their authority

  • I would love to watch Arsenal play more games per year, but I don’t think it’s healthy for the players.

  • Justus

    Six of one, and half a dozen of the other? Both parties have shown to not be playing cricket at all with money flying all over the place? Is Blatter or Platini more dodgy than Murdoch? Great that the monopoly of UEFA, FIFA, FA etc can be broken.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think both Murdoch and Blatter/Platini are from the same sort… not my cup of tea.

    I suggest that some games are to be played in Belgium. Certainly the one with Arsenal involved. Then all is fine with me 😉

  • Adam

    Be very careful what you wish for people.

    Although FIFA, UEFA & our own FA are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, their reforming or overhauling is better than having a breakaway organisation that will ultimately fragment the sport further.

    What difference would there be in another tournament organiser entering the scene? We have three of those already.

    We have Governing bodies organising there own tournaments as it is, which highlights a conflict of interests, how do you think it will turn out for the uninvited, if invited clubs wish to further pull away due to financial gains this sort of tournament will bring?

    We could be looking at a closed system, similar to how the US runs the MLS, but we in Europe would have the rest of the pyramid system suffering as a result. This would be anti-competitive and could widen the gap between the elite and the rest of football.

    I have wanted for some time for FIFA to be overhauled or relegated to tournament organisers only, with a new world-wide governing body taking over, but I know that wouldn’t solve some of the problems we face.

    The ECA are actually part of the problem, in that they have so much collective power, that FIFA and UEFA cannot stand up to them.

    This flies in the face of the EC’s view on sports as “A fair and balanced competition, in which every participant is treated equally and has a fair chance of winning”.

    We don’t have that as yet, and this would be another example of the elite getting what they want, and Arsenal are part of that elite.

    I am a “fan of football” first on this subject, it will be damaging for football, but great entertainment for the elite’s fan base.

  • americangooner

    This reminds me of when AW said super-league is very much a possibility and given AW’s views on this sorts of lucrative prospects, I would not be surprised Aesenal breaking away from UEFA’s UCL. However, there are many obstacles for murdoch to get over. Major obstacle is FIFA, another major obstacle could be players reluctance to play all-year round competitively, the clashing of friendlies, summer tour, CL qualifiers and what not. Plus if Teams agree with the uefa after 2018, there won’t be much murdoch can do.

  • Chaz Groves

    please give my peice on the RVP commentary recorded for the onhold calls to the Arsenal season ticket renewals, which I appended in error to the The Legend of Robin Van Persecuted and St Totteridge Day latest results.

    It’s tucked away and unlikely to gate any response where it is.

    Thanks

    Chaz