Thursday, March 19, 2009

Doesn't A European Superleague Sound Fun?

Michel loves to see his name everywhere.

Talk of a European Superleague has arisen once again, and once more Michel Platini finds himself in the middle. He has recently been quoted as saying:

"If it was up to me, I would revert to European Cups as they were at the beginning, with just knockout rounds. But we must listen carefully to any suggestion. If (clubs) come and talk to us [about Superleague play], we would listen to them and then decide.”

Despite his recent concerns about the influence of big money on football, Platini has been forced to admit that the European Superleague may become a reality rather than his preference for a return to the European Cup. With estimates that the Superleague would have 10 times the earning potential of the Champions League and the UEFA Cup combined (which it would replace), it is unclear how the new format would fit in with Platini's ideas regarding financial equality within (and among) domestic leagues.

The European Club Association, which represents 137 of the top clubs in Europe, has proposed the Superleague as a 3-division championship with relegation/promotion, comprised of: (1) 4 teams each from the EPL (suck it, Barclay's!), La Liga, and Serie A; (2) 3 teams each from Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga; and (3) 1 team each from Eredivisie, Portuguese Liga, and the Greek Super League. Although rumours currently have Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter, AC Milan (although CEO Adriano Galliani has denied it), Porto, and Lyon all on board with the proposal, the European Club Association has categorically denied that the Superleague was on the agenda at their most recent meeting.

UEFA has also denied that the European Superleague was discussed at their latest meeting, arguing that the very idea is against Platini's "philosophy" of football. This is a relief to many who feel that the rise of the Superleague would mean the diminishment of domestic leagues. The prevailing wisdom has been that these leagues would remain intact, but would be forced to reduce the number of matches played during a season to allow for the increased rigors of the Superleague.

This current talk reminds many of what happened in 1992, when the G14 clubs threatened to breakaway and essentially forced UEFA to launch the Champions League (precisely at the same time as the establishment of the current EPL system).
Interestingly, it has been suggested that these machinations regarding the Superleague come from several Spanish clubs who are in serious financial difficulties (Villareal, anyone?) as they would hope to benefit from the increased monies.

Regardless of how these ideas came to be, and whether or not they are currently being taken seriously at the highest levels, it is clear that the financial climate coupled with EPL dominance of Champions League play will stir these discussion to continue.


Andrew said...

So, like an Atlantic League for good clubs?

I'd like to see this. Promotion relegation amongst the biggest clubs in Europe? With promotion and relegation from the domestic leagues? I'd need to see the logistics, but this seems like a progressive idea. Allow me to qualify, though: I don't want to see the domestic leagues perish, or be relegated to a diminished status. This very well could happen with a Super League, and that's not good. But I'd like to see how this whole thing works out, with all the best clubs playing all the others twice a year? Fuck and yes.

Mike Georger said...

Sounds head explodingly complicated to me.

The NY Kid said...

I honestly have yet to figure out exactly how it would work. I need a flow chart.

Magnakai Haaskivi said...

See, when you say "head explodingly complicated" you mean it in a bad way. Platini hears that and thinks it's awesome.

GeneralGametime said...

I was feeling really stupid trying to figure this out. Then I realized nobody else understands how the fuck this would work. Thanks for boosting the old self esteem guys.

jjf3 said...

I saw one version of this thing that had 60 European teams in 3 20-team leagues with promotion/relegation among the 3 leagues, that would run in place of all the CL/UC games, while the teams would all also still compete in their "home" leagues. The logistics are mind-blowingly insane. And I didn't see anything that addressed a Leeds-like slide in their "home" league. What if Leeds was still in the top "Super League (SL1?)" as they dropped out of the EPL? Would they stay in SL1, 2, and 3, until they finally relegated out 3 or 4 years later, or would they lose their spot to the EPL's 4th place team THAT year??? And how would they come in? In Leed's current spot, or at the bottom of SL3, with extra promotions up the line?? WAY TOO COMPLICATED...

Joep Smeets said...

no thanks. Champs has to stay. Why?\

that's why