Football

The Europa League is nothing but a safety net for the elite

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The Europa League - that competition you see aired on Thursday night with no real bearing or meaning in the football universe.

Instead it sits as more of a chore, a knackering and painful duty to fulfil just just two days before vital domestic league campaigns restart.

Travelling away to the champions of Kazakhstan to play on a cold and uncomfortable night, just before travelling back the next morning and having but a day and a half to train for a league fixture.

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Once all this has been fulfilled though, you've trained hard and played even harder, as your marching up the stands like a hero to collect your Europa League winners medal, what does it stand for? Absolutely nothing.

It's a trophy yes, and a trophy earned for that extra round of games you had to play, but what does it mean? You're the best team in Europe? No, that's a title reserved for the Champions League holders. Instead, you could call yourselves 'the best of the rest' - Good, but not quite elite material.

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The main reason for the existence of this pointless contest can be summed up by one word; revenue.

When big football clubs fall out of the Champions League, the Europa League is their revenue parachute.

As they float down to play the best of the rest of Europe, television coverage and match night ticket sales follows them every step of the way.

And when this happens, not many people are going to cast their wandering eye over to, say, AS Nicosia vs FC Sion - oh no, they'll be tuning in for a heavyweight contest, mainly between Champions League drop outs and major Europa League contenders.

Though you can argue, smaller clubs will receive revenue sales profit and TV coverage earlier on in the contest - this still doesn't make up the amount of profit the bigger clubs have received when they were competing in the Champions League before the knockout rounds.

And yes, the winner of the Europa League has now earned a position in the Champions League for the following campaign, but that was only introduced incredibly recently.

Summary

Whilst the Europa League is, in the broadest sense of the word, silverware. It is relatively meaningless. Given the lack of strength in depth some of these smaller squads have to deal with, an extra round of games late in mid-week isn't exactly ideal.

Instead of this, why not just scrap the competition altogether and add an extra Champions League place onto every domestic league?

Yes, this will mean more qualifying rounds and probably bigger group stages and yet another knockout round, but at least that will mean something and will gift smaller clubs with great revenue profit playing against the best teams in Europe.

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Topics:
Football
Europa League

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