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Do we really need a European League?



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I spend pretty much all my free time scouring around football websites (yep, I’m cool) and the other day I saw an article with an interview with Michel Platini talking about the possibility of a European League. 

I must stress, no plans are in place to implement such a league but they are considering it as a viable option to replace the current European competitions, namely the UEFA Cup (Europa League as of next year) and the Champions League. The idea would be to have a three tiered league system, each league with 20-22 teams involved.  The current domestic leagues would remain as they are but would have to be restructured to accommodate such a competition.

Personally, I don’t really like the idea of a European League particularly.  I don’t think it would help level things out between the leagues, i.e. bring the French and Dutch leagues to the same level as the English Premiership, because the Champions League hasn’t done that so why should a new competition.  Aside from that, if clubs had to play 38 or 40 European games and the same number of domestic games they would have to have absolutely massive squads otherwise risk burning out the players and ruining summer International tournaments.

In the Champions League or UEFA Cup if you have no chance of winning the competition you will be knocked out.  In a European league you would have to keep playing, even if you were getting smashed every week.  For me this just doesn’t make sense and I think the domestic leagues would suffer as a result.

I mentioned earlier I don’t think it would level out the playing field across Europe.  For example if such a league were being played out this season I imagine the top four would include at least three from Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.  However, it may prove detrimental to each nations game. 

The Italian game is known for its tactical and defensive approach, the Spanish for flair and the English for pace, traditionally at least.  If the teams were playing each other every week there may develop a European style and I quite like the fact that each country has a slightly different take on the beautiful game, its one of the things that makes Football such a unique sport.

The plans may only be in the discussion stages but I hope it doesn’t go any further to be honest.  I’m a big fan of the current Champions League format, even if perhaps a few too many teams participate, and I don’t want that changed.  I’m less fond of the UEFA Cup and I’m not convinced the ‘Europa League’ will save the competition but I haven’t seen it yet so best wait before I pass a decisive judgment on it.

The creation of a European League would no doubt have a detrimental effect on each nation’s domestic league, I can’t see any way that it wouldn’t.  The number of games teams would be expected to play would be unreal and I have a feeling that if teams weren’t in with a shout at winning the league they may play a weakened side.  This is a scenario which would never happen in a Champions League tie – even if a side lost 4-0 in a first leg. 

For me a European League would be detrimental not only to European football but to world football in general, especially if over time each nation lost its distinctive playing style.  Perhaps I’m just being negative and there are a load of plus points I just haven’t come up with, then again maybe I’m right.

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