- Eliminating qualifying will cut out 99% of the club vs. country antagonism at a stroke. It would also free up dates for more club games – perhaps even a re-introduction of the second group phase of the Champions League.
- It means we wouldn’t have to sit through the turgid early weeks of the World Cup in its present format. We would no longer be confronted with the appalling one-sided encounters which so characterise the first round. It would also wipe out the risk of any of the major nations being knocked out early on and depriving the world of the chance to see the planet’s greatest players at the business end of the competition.
- It would spare the major teams the tricky task of negotiating a qualifying group in the first place. Thus would we avoid the type of inequitable situation faced by England in trying to make Euro 2008. Why should a team which was a mere penalty lottery away from the last four in the World Cup have to suffer the cruel fate which befell them?
- The World Cup should be played in Europe whenever possible. After all, this is where the vast majority of the TV money comes from, so it is only fair. The occasional tournament could be played elsewhere, such as one of the Gulf states or the United States, but only if the games are played in European prime time.
Written by Fredorrarci, who also maintains a blog called Sport is a TV show.
This article is a submission for the Soccerlens 2008 Writing Competition; to participate, please read the details here. The competition is sponsored by Subside Sports (premier online store for football shirts) and Icons (official signed football jerseys).