In the past few years talk of a European Super League has been a source of underlying concern for UEFA, with Karl Heinz Rummenigge and the European Club Association talking an aggressive game in suggesting that breaking away from UEFA was an option for Europe’s top clubs.
This morning it has emerged however, that the concept of a breakaway could be closer to reality than suspected. A report in The Times today proposes that the Qatari royal family are interested in creating a tournament bringing the world’s best clubs together in a competition that could pose a real threat to the Champions League.
The proposition will presumably come as a shock to both UEFA and the ECA, and will doubtlessly face a great deal of criticism and fight from European parties with a great deal to lose. And with good reason.
Increasingly in recent decades it has become clear that money talks in the game. With a reported £175 million on the table for participation, the Champions League would seem like the European equivalent of the Captial One Cup in terms of potential revenue.
The biggest clubs in the world are those with the greatest money at their disposal. Joining the upper echelons of European football requires a great deal of capital, whether that is self-generated through marketing and fans through the turnstiles or through a wealthy investors.
Therefore the threat is that the large sums of money promised by the Qatari backers will be an enticing offer to clubs that European football bodies can’t compete with.
With Financial Fair Play rules on the cusp of being put into action in the immediate years to come, the worry for UEFA will be that clubs potentially affected by the rules will have a significant bargaining tool at their disposal.
With an alternative competition in a different constituency proposed, clubs would have considerably less reliance on UEFA, whose main asset has been the power of the Champions League – any club interested in breaking away from UEFA would sacrifice participation in the world’s most attractive tournament.
Information on the “Dream Football League” is relatively scarce at this point, and only time will tell the extent to which it is possible. But regardless of the outcome, the notion of a breakaway from UEFA has been brought to the fore, and with that in mind there may be more potential investors rubbing their hands together.
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