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Alfredo Relaño

Football facing the danger of ECAxit

AS editor Alfredo Relaño looks at the meeting of the ECA this week and ponders the approach of the smaller clubs.


The ECA (European Club Association) is meeting today, Monday, and tomorrow in Amsterdam. A good opportunity to find out what's what. I'm interested in knowing if the middle-ranking clubs are going - those clubs who signed up, blinded by the brilliance of the richer clubs, in exchange for a pat on the back. There are 232 clubs on the list, which far exceeds the capacity of a European League, no matter how 'Super' it is. At most 32 teams would fit in there, with a first and a second division. The other nearly 200 are digging their own graves, because the project at heart includes an assault on the weekends for their use by the European SuperLeague, moving the domestic leagues to Tuesday and Wednesday. Which would ruin them.

This is a project concocted by the powerful, inspired by the International Champions Cup, a potpourri of matches played across three continents. This tournament has spurred on the fantasies and greed of Agnelli and Florentino, who have been pushing this agenda for a time. It seems to me to be a bad plan, and unfeasible right now, as it's premature. But I do worry, lest, in these times when without understanding how or why it's happened there's Brexit taking place, a similar blend of meanness and stupidity provokes an ECAxit which wrecks with a single blow the decent current system.

That's why I'm going to follow these meetings closely. I hope to find out what Athletic, Valencia, Sevilla, Real Sociedad, Villarreal and Malaga are doing in the ECA and what stance they are going to take. And I'm surprised by how calmly Rubiales (the president of the Spanish Football Federation) is approaching the process. He's a chap who we've seen leaping about like a March hare when faced with far more trivial matters. Does he not care that the fixtures in our league could be moved from Sunday to Wednesday? Does he think that after an ECAxit he'll be able to control the fixtures so that midday on Sunday's is a sacred slot for the Segunda B, Tercera and Regional leagues? I hope his phobia of Tebas, combined with his severance for Fiorentino, isn't clouding his judgement. What a few are wanting to do is bad for everyone else.


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