116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Truer Champions League?

We here on 116th Street will now be paying special attention to the UEFA elections, apparently being held on January 26th, mainly because they stand to decide the future of the Champions League. At issue (and this really does seem to be the only issue, for some reason) is the number of slots granted to clubs from the big three nations. Incumbent president Lennart Johansson has vowed to keep the four slots from England, Spain and Italy, whereas legend and challenger Michel Platini would prefer to see that number reduced to three each.
I have to admit to being of a mixed opinion in this case; does any nation really deserve to place four teams into the Champions League? I would say probably not, as finishing fourth wouldn't get you any kind of medal in any kind of competition, thus diluting the meaning of the term "Champions League." Furthermore, out of the fourth-place finishers from last season's big three (Arsenal, Osasuna, Chievo), only Arsenal draws a significant following outside its home country. Would it really be such a bad thing to see those three slots go to actual domestic champions, or runners-up?
Actually, this does present a problem, of sorts. Who should these slots be given to? Simply taking away the three slots (without re-assigning spots to UEFA's lower leagues) would then equate the Premiership, La Liga and Serie A as being at the same level as Ligue 1, the Bundesliga and the Portuguese Liga. Is that such a bad idea? Perhaps not, but I would advocate taking away one slot to each league, regardless of coefficient. That would, of course, alter the entire format of the Champions League, but would make it more of a meritocracy (of course, the prospect of seeing Debrecen instead of Arsenal makes for a very strong counter-argument).
Are you still with me? Anyway, I personally like the idea of the Champions League existing slightly truer to its name. Furthermore, any UEFA president willing to step to the line against the G-14 on this earns my respect (and is probably doomed, as well). If I had a vote, it would be for Platini and his less bloated version of the Champions League. At the same time, I thoroughly enjoyed Liverpool's triumph two years ago, so maybe I'm flopping on this one.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Live less real life, post more.

Your commentary is missed!

10:54 PM  
Blogger Z. Jackson said...

Ha! Thanks... I'm trying? :-)

5:20 PM  

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