by Walter Broeckx
A question that is being raised is the fact that when Uefa will introduce the financial fair play rules how this will effect the big teams. It has been said that Uefa will back down when it comes to excluding big teams as it cannot afford to play the Champions League without MIOU, Real Mad, Barcelona and the KGB in Fulham. I will also try to have a look on this with some information I gathered on what CL football means in a country that has almost no chance anymore to win the champions league. But I will keep this for another piece as otherwise I risk you might fall asleep halfway this article. Which you could do anyway off course.
First some historical facts and statistics. I wil try to see if the Champions League has changed European football. Well I don’t need the whole article to tell you it did change European football a lot. I don’t hink there is anyone out there who is not aware of the fact that the CL has an enormous financial impact on the teams and for that person out there who didn’t know it: just believe me it has. But I was more thinking on how it has changed it for the different countries that are playing in the European competitions. If we take a look at the finales being in played in 18 years Champion League we come up with this numbers:
Italian teams : Inter, Juventus and Milan (11 appearances in total)
Spanish teams: Barcelona , Real and Valencia (8 appearances in total)
English teams: Arsenal, MU, Liverpool and Chelsea (7 appearances in total)
German teams: Bayern, Dormund and Leverkusen (5 appearances in total)
French teams: Marseille and Monaco (2 appearances in total)
Portugal: Porto (1 appearance in total)
Netherlands: Ajax (2 appearances in total)
We also can see that most finals was between teams from the first 4 countries and the other countries like France, Portugal and Dutch teams are more or less exceptions to the general rule. So that’s a total of only 7 countries and 17 different teams that have been represented in the Champions League finals.
The winners come from Spain with 5 cups, Italy 5 cups, England 3 cups, Germany 2 cups, and both Holland, France and Portugal with 1 cup to show. We can also note that it is now some 6 years that there has been another team in the final not coming from the big four Italy, Spain, England and Germany. That means there have been 7 countries that have won the CL and the other 46 members of Uefa are just, well filling up the gaps between the start of the tournament and the final.
So the CL is looking to be a bit of a boring and predictable tournament if you are not living in one of those 4 countries. And from those big 4 there is only one country that is trying to sort things out already in financial matters and that is Germany.
But is there any difference between the CL and the former Europa Cup I? If we take the former Europa Cup 1 we come up with a slightly different number. England 8 cups, Italy 7 cups, Spain 7 cups, Holland 5 cups, Germany 4 cups, Portugal 3 cups, Scotland 1 cup, Rumania 1 cup and Yugoslavia 1 cup. So this means 9 winners from different countries. But in that period of time there was only 13 countries that had a team in the final in the 37 finals that have been played. In total some 36 different teams.
So we could ask ourselves if the Champions League was a good thing for English clubs when you just take the numbers of cups that they have won? Because we must not forget, and how could we as it is 25 years ago that the Heysel drama took place, that in the Europa Cups there have been some 5 years without an English team playing in it. And in the years before the Heysel drama there were a lot of English teams winning it as in that period of time England was a very powerful player in Europe. It was dominating football in Europe in fact.
In the Champions League the English teams have a 16 % succes rate and in the former Europacup 1 they had a 21 % chance of winning it. We also have to keep in mind that there have been years, most in the early years of the Europacup 1, that the English champion did not always entered the competition. As I am not that old yet I really don’t know why the English teams sometimes chose not to enter the European competition. If anyone could shed a light on this I would be delighted to have some more information on this. So in fact the we could assume that English teams could have won more Europacup 1 finals if they had been able to have participated every year. If it would have dominated like in the years before the Heysel drama the 21 % could have gone up to about 25 %.
So if you look at the favourite thing a lot of people in the UK judge everything (winning cups) the Champions League has not been an good thing for English football.
One could also say that for Dutch football is was also a very bad thing. I think that for a small country it was rather a very big achievement to have won 5 cups in that period and doing better than Germany. The reason I mention Holland is because of the fact that I will use them in a next article to see how the football fans react on what happens in the Champions League. Are they as interested in the games whoever plays? Or do they lose their interest at some stage of the competition.
I will try to give an answer in a next article.
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