Date:Tuesday August 18 2009
Arsene has provoked some chin stroking contemplation in the media following the publication of his thoughts that a European Super league could develop within the next 10 years. The thought was expressed in response to the question whether Celtic could participate in the Premier league at some time.
"I see more a European league developing than one or two teams going out of a country" he said
The idea isn`t a new one. It was seriously contemplated by the former G14 group of major European clubs back in a time when David Dein was glad-handing on behalf of Arsenal. Uefa expanded the European Cup in order to satisfy the revenue generating ambitions of Europe`s big spenders. This idea was resurrected last month by Florentino Perez, Real Madrid's president, who expressly called for such a league leaving others to conclude that he needed the anticipated extra money to fund his summer transfer equivalent of a bout of binge-drinking.
Perez was no doubt one of the 'voices` that Arsene referred to when he said "I'm not sure 100% that I am right but I feel that there are some voices behind the scenes in our game aiming to do something about a European league, especially if the rules become too restrictive for the big clubs as things currently stand."
The attraction of the big clubs in Europe playing each other twice a season has obvious revenue raising potential for those big clubs but the European Cup competition already gives these same clubs huge financial advantage over non-qualifiers in their domestic leagues, to the extent that the qualifiers can usually be predicted with 90% plus accuracy. Any tightening of that cartel could only disadvantage some clubs further as the super league clubs suck more of the money out of supporters, sponsors and media. Unless, that is, there is a real competition and clubs are promoted and demoted. Even then, at present anyway, it could be the weaker, less well supported, European leagues that might find themselves contesting relegation each season.
Wenger`s thought is that two leagues, and therefore two teams, could operate with the European becoming a midweek league. "If a European league does happen the question is whether clubs will transfer from a national league or whether it is a franchised European league.
"That's the question people will have to answer.
"I personally believe only in sporting merit, so if one league is created there has to be promotion up and down but that would be, practically, very difficult to resolve.
"I do not want to kill the national leagues so each team should have to play in the national league and in Europe. "That means the Euro league taking place in midweek and the national league over the weekend.
"All this would mean having two teams, basically."
That risks turning the national leagues into a Carling Cup competition where the big clubs field their second teams except that if participation in the European League depended on success in the domestic league then the big boys couldn`t allow themselves to fail domestically. Inevitably then, any extra revenue generated would lead to the same major European clubs spending even more money buying players that would ensure they could compete in two leagues consolidating power even more absolutely.
The idea has its appeal but, like Scudamores proposal for an extra PL game played internationally, whether simply raising more money is good for football in its broader context is another matter altogether.
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Date:Tuesday August 18 2009
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