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 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.
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