Writer: OyVeh Maria
Date:Friday November 30 2012
European football's governing body Uefa is considering ditching the Europa League in favour of extending the Champions League from 32 to 64 teams.
A decision will be made in 2014. Nothing is decided yet,' Uefa president Michel Platini told French newspaper Ouest-France. It means seven English clubs and five Scottish teams could enter at a qualifying round stage. Uefa is looking at changing the format of European competitions from 2015. 'There is an ongoing debate to determine what form the European competitions will have between 2015 and 2018,' added Platini. Europe's governing body UEFA earns about £1bn from the Champions League and brings in £225m from the Europa League.
Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, said earlier this month that he would like to cut the number of teams competing in the top tier of domestic leagues and increase the number of clubs in the Champions League. It has been reported that Europe's richest clubs will form a breakaway European league if the Champions League is not expanded. Andre Villas-Boas - who won the competition with Porto in 2011 - has said he could not understand why the tournament was viewed as a punishment in England. The Champions League is far more financially beneficial, for Uefa and the clubs concerned, than Europe's second-tier tournament.
UEFA earned about £800m more from the Champions League than the Europa League last season, while Chelsea made £49m by winning the Champions League in 2012. Manchester United, who were knocked out in the Champions League group stages last year, received £28m. By comparison, last season's Europa League winners, Atletico Madrid, earned £8.5m in prize money and Fulham, knocked out of the group stages, won £2.2m.
Now if the decision is to expand the CL and ditch the Europa League it will probably mean that the bigger, more successful clubs, could be ceded into groups. The qualification rounds will be before our season starts and they will include more teams. Will competition for the top 7 spot still be as fierce or would it mean the top 7 PL clubs having an easier ride. Could it mean the top 7 PL Teams getting richer at the expense of the other 11? It would certainly have an interesting affect on our new stadium development. Spurs in the top flight again and the chance to play the Inter's, the Reals and the Barca's again!
A good run in the CL would mean our stock would go up again, more TV rights revenue, merchandising, improving revenue from the naming rights of the new stadium etc. We have already seen what our last appearance in the CL did for our club and the club's revenue, not to mention the players who would be more attracted to a club that could potentially always qualify for the CL. So, a 64 team Champion's League and no Europa, good idea or pants?
Written by OyVeh Maria
Date:Friday November 30 2012
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