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Premier League and changing of the guard at UEFA


The so called ‘big five’ of the Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool along with both Manchester clubs, United and City, met up in London earlier this week, apparently in secret with Stephen Roos, owner of NFL franchise, Miami Dolphins and were ‘rumbled’. The five clubs were represented by top level executives: four director generals and one club president. Their excuse behind the meeting, that of discussing 2016/17 pre-season activity rang somewhat hollow. The get together was picked up on by a journalist from The Sun newspaper who even managed to secure photographs of the meeting and it has confirmed one important factor: moves are afoot to create a European Super League as a replacement for the current Champions League format.

Stephen Ross is the name behind the International Championship Cup, that pre-season tournament that is held in various global cities on numerous continents. It’s a tournament that works well for sponsors but generates limited interest amongst fans. Football has worked in parameters that are distinct to this ICC model and have in fact worked well. The ‘old’ European Cup format which saw just the league winner from each country participating has evolved into the current Champions League format and has been well managed into a successful and commercially viable format. More importantly it has been well received by the football fraternity in many places, including Spain, but it would appear to have less appeal in certain circles of the English game.

Stephen Ross (Archive)
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Stephen Ross (Archive)AS

Premier League clubs traditionally struggle to reach the quarter finals and on the odd occasion get to a semi-final of the Champions League. Premier clubs complain that the Champions League payments are insufficient and have seen how Spanish and German teams have embraced the competition and England is in danger of losing its third position in the ranking to Italy. It’s no wonder that the possibility of a new format has provoked so much interest among English clubs. In the meantime, UEFA is undergoing change with Platini out of action and Villar waiting in the wings. This moment of weakness in European football’s governing body will give this new breakaway initiative added strength. However their lack of transparency suggests that their conscience is not completely clean.