There are some things UEFA does really well, though I know it’s not popular to say so. It’s a shame they’re letting some mock the financial fair play rules. It’s a shame, too, they won’t give clear explanations about their accounts to the clubs who sustain their competitions. It’ll be said that’s a fair amount, but set against it is the evidence that UEFA makes football work. And they stick at it. Last night we saw the end of the first Conference League experience, the third division of European football, with a final between two prestigious teams, Feyenoord and Roma, held in a city and country, Tirana, Albania, that shows UEFA don’t forget anyone.
Between the Champions League, Europa League and the new Conference League, 233 clubs from 55 countries took part in this year’s European competitions, from the solitary representative from San Marino, to the seven each from the Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga. We haven’t followed this new third competition much here in Spain. There was no Spanish participant, because we had five in the Champions League, but next year, with Villarreal, it’ll be a different matter. We won’t take it so lightly. Roma, a big club in a major footballing country have had full stadiums in their run to the final, which they won against Feyenoord.
It was a fine final, a new European triumph for Mourinho, who can boast about it. Roma grabbed a goal from a lapse at the back and played a cautious second half. It’s the second European title for Roma fans. The first was back in 1961, a Fairs Cup, when the team boasted two goalscorers from the maracanazo: Gigghia y Schiaffino. Now they’ve landed the first trophy of a competition scheduled to last three seasons, but which I think will end up being accepted. In fact, it already has been. You just have to see the way these two prestigious old teams approached a great final to see that.