With Manchester City having recently won the English League Cup, we ask whether Europe's other top leagues should introduce a second cup competition.
Watching the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, one has to feel for AS Roma, Fiorentina, Napoli and Udinese in knowing that only one of the four and their superb managers will have a chance of lifting the trophy in May.
Outside of a shock scudetto win for Roma, or either Napoli and Fiorentina going all the way in the Europa League, there is a possibility that only one of these clubs will end up with silverware come May.
Whilst those four clubs were battling it out for a place in the Coppa Italia final, we had Sunderland clinching a place in the Capital One Cup final. This wouldn’t happen if England had only one cup competition.
There wouldn’t be a fairytale run to Wembley, which involved knocking out Chelsea and Manchester United in dramatic fashion or the dream of a cup-upset, which existed for a nearly an hour at Wembley.
Thus, it begs the question: should Italy, Germany and Spain introduce a second cup competition?
My view is that if those leagues were reduced to by two sides, which has been spoken about by key figures in Italy and by those involved in Spanish football too regarding their respective leagues, both could have a League Cup comprising of either the top 16 sides from the previous season, or a more ideal cup competition involving the top 8 sides from the previous league season.
An eight-team Cup competition where potentially Juventus, Napoli, AC Milan, Fiorentina, Udinese, Roma, Lazio and Inter Milan would play each other in single-leg quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final would involve multiple-marquee games which would have higher stadium attendances, higher domestic an international viewership and media coverage than if anyone of those eight sides had to play the 19th or 20th Serie A side.
The same applies to the Bundesliga and La Liga clubs where Another El Clasico,
another Madrid derby, another Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund clash and another Rhone Valley derby between Schalke and Dortmund could be on the cards in an eight
team League Cup.
Only one club can win a domestic league and only one club across Europe can win the
Champions League, the pursuit for success is hard road to take. With the lack of interest in the oversized Europa League, cup competitions have become more valued in recent times than the European competition.
A team will have to play as many as 21 games to win the Europa League with smaller squads than most Champions League sides, thus the tournament has lost its importance.
Its lack of financial rewards doesn’t help generate interest from clubs either. The quest for doubles, trebles and quadruples have helped raise the profile of once-neglected cup domestic competitions in various countries – Italy included.
Of the top six European Leagues, England and France have two cup competitions and in recent times Portugal have also added a League Cup into their domestic fixture list.
Germany it is worth acknowledging once has a six-team League Cup although it
served the role of a Super Cup/Community Shield-type competition, which has
now been scrapped to the disappointment of some.
A short cup competition, with a few games all high-profile and a chance of a cup final
against a local rival would be more viable and perhaps generate more interest
in Germany, Italy and Spain where there is only one cup competition in place.
Perhaps in time, we will see the three above-mentioned nations introduce a second cup competition when a club from England, France or Portugal win a domestic treble or a quadruple involving one of the European trophies creating a demand for the top-clubs from the one-cup nations to have a chance to emulate that feat, time will tell.
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