The European Club Association today confirmed what this website and others have long been saying; that any plans to reform European football must go through UEFA, and that they in no way will involve changing the format of the Champions League to exclude Celtic or other clubs from “lesser nations.”
Nor will they see so-called “big clubs” gain automatic qualification, regardless of where they finish in their domestic league competitions.
“The ECA does not sponsor the creation of any Super League in Europe. We seek an improvement of the current Champions League, but always in the hands of UEFA,” their spokesman said.
This was one of the daftest stories of the year so far, and that many in Scottish football were willing – or appeared to be willing – to believe it speaks volumes both for how gullible many in our media and in the governing bodies are, and about how gullible they think some of the fans are.
Talks are ongoing to change some of facets of European football, but these involve making the Champions League and the Europa League more lucrative, to bring them into line with the kind of financial benefits that accrue to clubs in American sports and, most importantly, in the EPL.
But these plans in no way involve shutting smaller nations out.
In fact, in keeping with much that UEFA has done lately, there’s a good chance that the plans, when they are unveiled, will actually benefit countries like Scotland, in making sure that there’s more money to go around for every nation.
If the plans that newspapers like The Record had actually existed – they didn’t, expect in the febrile minds of discredited hacks and witless Scottish football administrators – they would have been defeated by representations from the smaller countries and vetoed by the big guns at UEFA itself.
Any remote possibility of them passing was dealt a final, deadly, blow when Gianni Infantino was elected head of FIFA; as the architect of the expanded Champions League, as well as the Champions Route, he would certainly have fought to make sure the European body secured their future.
In spite of the clear desire by a number of major clubs to secure more power – and money – for themselves, the trend in European football is very much towards greater democratisation and a fairer spread of the monies.
The EPL has lop-sided the arrangement somewhat, and other national associations are eyeing it greedily, but like any bubble, the Premiership’s inflated value is eventually going to burst, especially as its top sides continue to over-reach in spending terms whilst underachieving on the European stage itself.
Other clubs, like Barcelona and Real Madrid, continue to earn vast sums from their TV deals, but they also spend far more money than comes in … something Infantino was keen to tackle with Financial Fair Play, which will start to bite teams hard in the next two years, with Galatassary already reeling from a two year competition ban for violating those rules.
European football is clearly on a path towards change, but that change appears to be nothing for us to be afraid of.
On the contrary, it might well be far more beneficial to clubs like ours than at first appears to be the case.
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