A few things are on the mind of Michel Platini when he throws the ideas of creating one big European League, or expanded Champions League, which will include 64 teams, at the expense of the Europa League, which seems like a good way of destroying a valuable brand.
I can’t see how it could work outside the Uefa framework. Who will referee them? In what stadiums will they play?
Maybe he’s afraid of the ECA, the European club association, always threatening to break away from UEFA and create a league of their own. While Platini keeps dismissing the likelihood of that happening, laughing at their chances of succeeding, the thought of Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and others setting up a league of their own to get more money into their big coffers is a headache for the future FIFA president.
And Platini knows his time as the chief of UEFA is coming to an end, so he’s bringing in as many changes as possible. He’s already decided to ruin the best international competition on the planet, the Euro, by introducing 8 more teams to the competition. Sixteen was perfect and created three fantastic weeks of football. Now we’ll probably get a month, with more bad matches to ruin the scenery.
If UEFA and the ECA reach an agreement, we would like to increase the Champions League under the umbrella of UEFA. If not, the ECA is entitled to organize their own champions competition.
This is about ego, some sense of chivalry, and of course, money. Making it the only continental club competition in Europe will delude the already decreased quality that Platini was responsible for, by introducing the course for champions-only in the qualifiers. It may have introduced new teams that don’t usually reach the competition on an annual basis, but it has ruined the group stage, that has become mostly predictable and filled with matches the neutral fan doesn’t want to see.
Now Platini wants to throw in more matches between giants like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, this times with teams that might have finished 7th and 8th in the French League. Where’s is the competition in that? Where is the attraction, both to the fans of those teams and to the neutral customer, who might simply decide to give up on the group stage and wait for February, when the real fun begins and only the good teams still stand.