The dictionary defines champion as the following: 'a person who has defeated all opponents in a competition or series of competitions, so as to hold first place.'
However, in the so called 'Champions' League, the majority of the teams that compete in the competitions are not champions of their own leagues. Instead some leagues (like the Premier League) have as many as four teams competing in the competition. Would you class fourth place as a champion?
As we enter the semi-final stage we are about to witness two German sides and two Spanish sides battle to reign supreme in Europe. Whilst they feature four of the biggest clubs in the world, we are possibly destined to witness another El Clasico; yawn, how many is that this season?
Six, we have seen - six El Clasico’s, a sight quite frankly that seems to be getting boring and takes away from the occasion as it happens on such a regular basis.
The Bundesliga on the other hand has easily become one of the strongest in Europe and one of the most exciting at that, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have been the strongest two sides in the Champions League all season.
Gone are the days of the surpass, you don’t see clubs like Red Star Belgrade upsetting the apple cart and going on to win the trophy. Since Porto won it in 2004, the winner has come from England, Spain or Italy - we need to see champions from countries such as Belgium, Croatia and Switzerland to name but a few, actually be given a chance to be able to progress. Take Ajax for example, they are no longer the heavyweights they once were, being left behind as the ‘big three/four’ move further and further away.
Television and money now rule the roost; the idea of a 64 team Champions League is laughable and one that would destroy any type of competition in Europe.
The Europa League needs a complete facelift, the whole business of the third place team in a Champions League group needs to change; it’s not fair on the clubs that are already in the tournament and rewards a club for finishing third or rather second bottom of their group.
Of the four clubs in the semi-finals this season all, at some stage, have played in the Champions League this very season, whether it is in the qualifying stages or the group stage.
The amount of fixtures a club must go through to even reach the final of the Europa League puts a large strain on players, clubs and travelling fans.
To make the Europa League fashionable again, they need to look at returning to the older system. Champions only enter the Champions League, second place enter the Europa League and then reintroduce the Cup Winners Cup. By reintroducing the third European competition it would give much more meaning back to domestic cup competitions that have lost their appeal.
The FA Cup and Capital One cup would once again be fiercely contested as a European place in a good quality competition would be up for grabs, as silverware would rank better than a top four finish.
Platini and Co need to sit back and make changes and maybe this time make changes that do not reflect money or television rights, make change for the good of football and not for someone’s back pocket.
It would be interesting to see what most fans views are on this subject.
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