ESL – the right idea
Yes, maybe it is motivated by greed. And for sure, there is something seriously wrong if history and current stature give a club an irrevocable right to be there in the future, and at the same time excludes upcoming clubs from gaining a place among the best.
But there is a problem with all the condemnation. The idea of Europe’s best clubs playing each other in an actual league with regular home and away games does have a lot of appeal, I must admit.
If we accept the fact that most clubs are owned by clever business people, and those who aren’t owned by business people are in fact run by clever business people anyway, then we should also recognize that behind the plans are some intelligent calculations. More than likely there is some serious market research, which will point towards huge TV audiences around the world, and huge commercial value all around.
The top clubs have pushed for something like this to happen inside UEFA for quite a while. But the problem is, UEFA is the organization of national football organizations, which are in charge of each their own national leagues, and for them, the prospect of an international league overshadowing their own national league is not very attractive to say the least. This is the main reason UEFA haven’t done it already. They are caught in a position, where the big clubs know, and UEFA probably also knows, a regular European league for Europe’s top clubs will most likely be a huge success in itself, but they can’t or won’t do it as they are basically an organization of national organizations and each have their own national interest.
They are trying to negotiate a balance where the European competitions are attractive and successful, but only to a certain extent. The international competitions must not become number one.
So at the bottom all this is the dilemma. The top clubs and the worldwide audiences may see what is the most attractive “product”, but they are not allowed to have it by the official footballing body.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not defending all we are seeing right now. But there are issues to be considered here, and I hope when the dust settles we will see some more balanced discussions, and hopefully it can lead to a solution that doesn’t blow the football world apart. Maybe that is also what the top clubs want in the end. They just need to up the pressure on UEFA, as UEFA aren’t very forthcoming for obvious reasons.