So Sandro Rosell has been offering us his views on both Spanish and English football again, and days after trying to convince us that we were the ones selling out to foreign money, whereas whilst under his tenure, his beloved Barca would never stoop so low – sponsorship deals and TV rights aside of course – and his latest pearl of wisdom is to suggest that eventually in order to create a superior Champions League competition – with a larger amount of teams in more countries and also more matches – some played on weekends, we need to reduce the amount of teams in the Premier League from 20 to 16.
With Rosell prepared to break away from UEFA to do this, and seemingly intent on persuading other leagues to join him, just how would this affect the Premier League and does he actually have a chance of succeeding?
As Richard Scudamore has stated, this may be a very nice idea for Barcelona, but for the Premier League, this is just not an option. Many people believe that in England we have the strongest league in the world, and the teams in the bottom half of the table have much more quality within them than any other league – La Liga included, meaning that cutting 4 teams from leagues across Europe would have a greater effect on English football and its quality than perhaps other leagues.
This is obviously a worthwhile point, and for me would be the biggest reason to reject Rosell’s suggestions immediately. Not only this, but it diminishes the status of our domestic league, and by freeing up weekends for ‘glamour friendlies’ against the giants of other leagues, or Champions League ties to boost the profile of the teams involved, this seems quite similar to selling out to me.
I am not suggesting the Champions League format is perfect, far from it, but this seems too similar to a suggestion from UEFA not too long ago, which involved cutting a place from England and Spain in the competition to give it to a country who either had fewer teams in the competition or none at all. Again this would have reduced the quality of the competition, and we cannot give places to teams that quite frankly have less quality than others just for the sake of extra finance or exposure.
This seems exactly what would happen if Rosell gets his way, and the concerns of a break away leagueaside – which would naturally be led by the European Club Association, of which a certain Mr Rosell is the VP – the effect on the Premier League would be disastrous. I am not the biggest advocate of English football – in fact I actively prefer La Liga – but even I can see that by cutting several teams who actually deserve to be there, it will destroy the league not only in terms of quality but also competitiveness.
One of the things people around the world love about the Premier League is the ability for any team to beat another, and again this is something that would be lessened by Rosell’s proposals. Yes, the Champions League is a brilliant competition, but the bread and butter for fans is their domestic league and to suggest that European ties could be played on a weekend in place of a domestic game not only takes away from individual leagues, but will alienate fans of clubs not in this ‘super league.’
To suggest friendlies replace league games is even worse, and Mr’ I am not a sell out for Middle Eastern money, even though I am suggesting such a thing speaking in Qatar’ Rosell should be ashamed for even thinking about such a thing. Once you start cutting teams from a league and having break away competitions, the slide has begun, and if we were to agree with this, what next – in ten more years, we could have no domestic league at all, just a European Super League, and all the little things individual leagues love and take pleasure in would be gone.
Not only would the Premier League be effected, but the Championship and the joy of the play offs and promotion would be ruined. Whilst it may not be the case in Spain, in England we have an array of teams in the lower leagues such as Leeds or Nottingham Forrest who one day want to return to the top flight, and even for teams such as West Ham, by cutting the league, it will make it impossible for them to break into the league, let alone stay there.
Don’t get me wrong, I would generally find some kind of issue with anything the President of Barcelona says, but even if Jose Mourinho had suggested this, I would think it was a terrible idea, and yes it may benefit the so called ‘super clubs’ but to me seems far more concerned with politics and finance than actually preserving the quality of football in Europe, and Mr Rosell would do well to remember that it is not just teams like United and Barca who bring something to the table each weekend – and in the Premier League, we certainly won’t be forgetting this.
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