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Threat of a breakaway European Superleague is raised again

Talk of a European Superleague has once again reared its head over the past couple of days with the European Clubs Association (ECA) demanding changes to the UEFA Champions League

The association led by German Karl-Heinz Rummenigge are wanting changes to the way their leading members qualify for the competition. All the big clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Premier League members such as Manchester United and Arsenal are members of this association and the ex German International Rummenigge is aiming for clubs of the above stature to gain automatic qualification to the Champions League each season.

That sounds like quite the demand but the other option is to pull those clubs out of the Champions League and go it alone in a proposed 20 team ‘European Superleague’. Mention of a European Superleague always comes around every season or so and each time the threat is brushed off as the club seem happy with the current status quo.

But with leagues around Europe getting more and more one sided, PSG in France and Bayern Munich in Germany being perfect examples maybe the clamour is now there for clubs to take the competition up a level. Realistically there is going to be little competition in Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga for the next few years so maybe it would be in both the clubs and the leagues interest for these teams to leave domestic competition and go it alone

Then again it could be a case where the Superleague is just played in Midweek but that would mean incredible demands on the clubs throughout the season and possibly to the detriment of their domestic challenges. Although if they were a guaranteed a place in the Superleague and the riches that come with it then a Premier League Top 4 place for example wouldn’t be the necessity that it currently is

The problem is though once you create a closed shop in Football you kill off what makes it so good in the fact that any club can aspire to reach the top level, by removing that you lose that special element of the competitions across Europe. Also how long would the novelty of a European Superleague last, would fans be willing to travel around Europe all season? Would this mean the grounds would be half full due to fan fatigue and expense.

From a UEFA point of view they are open to change but nothing can be done before the 2017/18 season as the competitions are planned on a 3 year cycle but it’s fair to see the group stages of the competition have been a little stagnant of late with some repetitive fixtures over the past few seasons although that was slightly remedied by the fact that the top ranked Leagues got a Pot 1 position in the group stage draw. That has been one positive but it’s difficult to see what changes can be made to protect the integrity of the competition.

Whether the threat by the ECA is just that in a move to get the changes they desire remains to be seen but the leverage definitely seems to be with the clubs at present so I expect there will have to be some concessions by UEFA to make sure the threat of a Superleague is dampened for at least a few more years

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