The dreaded Champions League proposals which so spooked Celtic last year have been kicked somewhere down the line this week. UEFA has not shelved them, it’s merely put them on ice. Some of the so-called “elite clubs” still want a system like this.
We’re not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot.
European football is heading for some kind of league; that’s almost inevitable.
The only proposal that makes sense is the one no-one’s proposing; that the Groups be extended to six teams and that another 16 sides – league champions – be admitted to them.
This would be hugely beneficial to our club and European football would have enhanced the big competition and made it more egalitarian at the same time. The so-called elite teams don’t want this, because they care only about their own advancement and they see that coming from playing more games, and making more money, against each other.
But playing the same teams over and over again loses its lustre … how many times have we seen Champions League quarter and semi-finals played out between the same sides? It was special seeing Ajax and Spurs do well last year because it broke us out of the usual cycle. Imagine that cycle being the perpetual way of it in that competition?
How quickly would fans get bored with it?
This is what happens when you create a closed shop; there’s no drama in it, no fairy-tale, like it was with Ajax last year. Sixteen more teams in the groups is another sixteen potential fairy-tales and the way it would spread the money down through the game would be the game-changer to end them all.
Instead there are people who want to go the other way.
They want the closed shop. They don’t even want teams to have to qualify via their league form. If you’re a “big name” then that’s enough, even if you haven’t won anything meaningful in years. This is the death of the meritocracy.
And in spite of a modest victory here, football isn’t shot of these proposals yet.
The plans have been mothballed, not yet shredded and carted away in the bins. The EPL and other top leagues opposed them because those leagues would be directly affected … but that doesn’t mean that if a compromise is reached with those leagues that a version of this won’t happen.
We have to stay vigilant.
Scottish football has to stay vigilant.
The war’s not over.
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