As I understand it, based on what I have heard here and there, it would seem that preliminary talks have taken place with UEFA between representatives of some of the big money European clubs, including Manure and Juventus.
The clubs’ representatives have made it clear that they think there is a need to move on and capitalise on the promotion of top grade European football.
This really means they want to take the opportunity of better marketing of top European football worldwide, and incidentally making buckets of cash for their owners. There is, too, the lingering suspicion, although I understand it was not mentioned specifically, that the clubs want shot of Platini’s alleged election bribe to the smaller countries/ leagues, that they would be included in the group stages of the CL, if they voted for him to be UEFA president, because they are just seen by the clubs as pointless fodder who are bumped off by the bigger clubs in every tournament, and thus making those games very boring for TV audiences.
Let’s face it – the TV companies are probably behind this, or are in cahoots with the big clubs, as they want value for all the money they have poured into the CL – and when money talks – everyone jumps, especially UEFA and the clubs I suspect! 😀
Something like this plan was always going to happen, at sometime in the near future, and if it is not this one, it will be something along these lines eventually.
That means if the current Premier League-leaders, Leicester, somehow managed to win through in May, they would qualify for Europe, next season, but if they won the following year instead they would not qualify for Europe. Got it so far? 🙂
Milan, for example, another one of the clubs pushing for this change to qualifying, but who have sometimes been rubbish in the Italian league, and possibly may not qualify for the CL next season, and also Manure who are also currently rubbish in the Premier League, and seem unlikely to make next season’s Champions’ League would both become permanent members of the new European set up in 2018, if they get their way.
In addition, both the Chavs and ‘Pool may well be in the elite clubs’ group for 2018, too, even tho they are also unlikely to qualify for next season’s tournament, though this not a given.
Step forward the European Clubs Association, representing the big fish European clubs, including all of those other teams who would like to be guaranteed reserved Champions League places from 2018.
The ECA’s executive board, comprising plenty of bigwigs of the biggest clubs, including the Manure chief executive Woodward and [no, I cannot believe it] our very own Arsenal boss Ivan Gazidis, (I am sort of beginning to like this cunning plan a lot more) have made it clear to UEFA that they are deadly serious about making this change happen, and want it applied to the next Champions League TV deal which happens to start in 2018. Funny that!
In effect, cutting to the chase, the so-called ‘elite’ want their clubs to have reserved invitations to every CL club tournament in the future, Not that surprising I suppose. Hogs at feed?
Who are these elite teams? Well it has not yet been announced but it will rely a lot on the clubs that the TV wallahs think are the prettiest – well, perhaps they are more attractive to viewers might be a more concise way of putting it, whether they are qualified through their local league positions, or not.
It will make qualification for next season’s CL particularly stressful I suspect as that could make a big influence on whether a club is included if they are not a really ‘big’ club.
There will be huge money coming in next season for all the Premiership clubs with the new Sky and BT TV deals starting in 2017, and if some elite clubs get into the new CL set up in 2018, if it is agreed by all concerned, that money could easily be doubled.
It seems that in any event there has been an agreement in principle among the usual suspects that these elite clubs will be included on a permanent basis – however, it remains to be seen who makes the cut as ‘attractive’ to the TV viewers, and also that to ease opposition to the plan, certain other league qualifiers will be added to this group of definite starters.
Perhaps the way to smooth this deal through is to expand the size of the competition, perhaps by formalising a pre-league of other clubs who would fight it out, for qualification, as they do now, during the preseason, but the TV movers and shakers probably won’t want this.
Clubs like Everton, Spurs, and Leicester who may not make the cut as guaranteed ‘elite’ members, will be understandably peed off, and perhaps this is a move away from the corinthian spirit of football.
Corinthian my ass! – high standards and doing the right thing have already been consigned to the dustbin of football’s past, I am afraid.
The alleged backroom chat between some of the top clubs does give this supposedly secret plan some credence, and as I have often said before, when money comes calling, all the money hungry club owners bat their eyelashes, put on their best dresses, apply their lipstick and will kiss the asses of whoever offers them the most!
C’est la vie.
Written by RA