Not long ago, the topic of a European Super League was on everyone’s lips in football.
For one reason or another, it quickly fell off the radar, with video technology and corruption in the game taking centre stage over the last 48 months.
However, recent murmurs have suggested that the idea has never truly left the table, with Dutch legend Clarence Seedorf admitting he’s heard whispers of its development.
"It is not an easy thing to do because of who you would have to exclude but I have heard about a project they have already in some kind of box," he told BBC Sport.
"Evolution will be made for sure. I believe in a European League. I would like to see more quality in the game and fewer games mean more quality. This is something that has been discussed many times but the future will be something like that."
Seedorf appears quite sure over what, in reality at least, remains a pipe dream for now. The principle is simple; Europe’s best teams come together in one league, leaving their own domestic divisions to play in a ‘Super League’.
For the teams in the Super League, the benefits are obvious. With matches between the best teams from across the continent on a weekly basis, global TV revenues would understandably increase. Sold out stadiums and higher ticket prices would also be the order of the day.
The real problem lies with the teams outside of this top bracket. A domestic league would be devalued without its top teams. A Premier League without Manchester United is one thing, but a La Liga without Real Madrid or Barcelona is another entirely.
Focusing on England, one of the biggest questions would be which teams are in, and which teams are out? Would Liverpool, with their five European Cups, be entered into the league? And Spurs, who are setting the Premier League alight this season – do they make the grade?
If not, how would they progress into the Super League? A play-off between clubs in just this country or across the continent, perhaps? These are all simple points, but ones that would have huge ramifications for every team involved – or not involved, more to the point.
If the Premier League isn’t as valuable a commodity, then the money that filters down to the Football League clubs would also take a massive hit. In short, the arrival of the Super League would lead to a major restructuring of the Football League – three divisions would no longer survive. Then there’s the Conference and the pyramid structure that filters through the non-league ranks. All would be affected.
The Champions League would also disappear, with little point for such a prodigious cup competition when the teams are already playing against each other on such a regular basis.
Seedorf does raise an interesting point over the number of games the top clubs currently play. It’s long been suggested in this country that the national side suffers from the number of competitive matches played by each team, with a winter break often mentioned as the solution.
But the four-time Champions League winner thinks a European Super League would also be beneficial in this sense too, limiting the top teams, and therefore the top players, to fewer games.
"Why does everyone love the Champions League? It's because it's exclusive. Even if you win it, you only play 13 games in that competition in a season,” added the AC Milan star.
"The Champions League could become the knockout cup of the European League, which would be the real European competition, whatever you wanted to call it.
"So, like the Scudetto and the Coppa Italia and the Premier League and FA Cup you have the European League and European Cup. There are fewer games, and all the best players in the world are involved. It would be like the NBA of football."
When you consider that a regular NBA season can consist of over 80 games, the point is slightly lost.
But, the sad truth of the matter is that money talks in football, and the big clubs will sense an opportunity to get bigger – and therefore richer – with a European Super League.
The fight will come when all the little clubs combine together to challenge the power struggle at the top of the game. Unless this league can offer benefits to every team, and not just the elite few at the top, then it should rightly be dead in the water.
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