When I was young, this phrase was doing the rounds: “There's no-one more stupid than a poor person with right wing ideologies”. I'm obliged by law to ensure that AS does not become embroiled in political arguments but I couldn't resist the anthropological analogy as it reminded me so much of certain teams that form the ECA (European Club Association) or the IBEX-232 of European football as I billed the organisation yesterday. This was originally a group a the most powerful clubs in Europe who over time grew from just eight to now representing the interests of 232 sides from across the continent. The group has grown to such a point that it now wields certain power over UEFA head Ceferin who needs all areas of support to ensure he clings on to power.
In Spain there are three clubs who have all the motives to be champions of the ECA: Real Madrid, Barça and Atlético. Each of the three however is unsure of the correct protocol to adopt, anxious not to ruffle the feathers of Javier Tebas and the domestic LaLiga organisation especially in relation to a European Super League which is the long term objective for the likes of Agnelli and Florentino. The ECA also features the likes of Valencia, Athletic, Sevilla, Real Sociedad, Villarreal and Málaga who fatten up its membership numbers but smacks as nothing more than a vanity project from these clubs wanting to 'belong' and seemingly unaware that they could be easily tossed to one side by the bigger clubs whenever they deem the time is right to do so.
Alongside our six 'lemmings' there are plenty of European football clubs with many located in territories which would be totally overlooked by any potential European Super League (Malta, Faroe Islands...). However these clubs seem happy to appear at the five star hotels and sit at the same table as those who genuinely make the decisions at the ECA. They add nothing but their very own idiocy is contributing to destroy the very own eco-system in which they live. Ceferin's irresponsibility in being a puppet to the ECA runs the risk of jeopardising an equilibrium in the modern game that by and large works. The head of UEFA is being pressurised by a dozen members of the ECA and unfortunately this pressure is backed up by the presence of hundreds of useful fools.