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22.10.14 0717
The W - Sports that aren't Baseball, Football, Basketball, or Hockey - UEFA reportedly to grant Champions League spot to Europa League winner
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TheBucsFan
TheChiefsFan








Since: 2.1.02

Since last post: 71 days
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.57
http://espnfc.com/​​news/​​story/​​_​​/​​id/​​1457743/​​europa-​​league-​​winners-​​get-​​champions-​​league-​​place?​​cc=5901

Overall, I am totally in favor of this change. We talked about this a few weeks ago in this forum and the main concern raised is that it dilutes the quality of teams making it to the Champions League, but I don't think one team makes a huge difference and I think winning the Europa League is more meaningful than, say, coming in third in France's Ligue 1. But this also might be addresses in UEFA's as-of-yet-unmade decision whether to let national associations with four spots to get a fifth if a team outside its league's top four wins the Europa League. If they don't - in other words, say the English table finished the same as it did last year, then Chelsea would again boot Tottenham to the Europa League by winning a European cup competition - then I think it's a moot point.

ESPN summed up this situation pretty well:


    If UEFA does not increase the maximum number of teams from one association from four to five, then a change to the Europa League regulations could impact on the nations that have four places via their domestic league - currently England, Germany and Spain.

    Atletico Madrid, for instance, won the Europa League in 2012 but then only finished fifth in La Liga. With a limit of four clubs per country, Atletico winning a place in the Champions League would have relegated Malaga into the Europa.

    The situation becomes further complicated should clubs from outside the top four of one league win both the Champions League and Europa League. The teams finishing in third and fourth would therefore have to compete in the Europa League the following season. It is highly improbable, though, that UEFA would ever permit six clubs from one association to enter the Champions League.

    What is certain is that if the Europa League winners have already qualified for the Champions League, then the Europa League runners-up will not be entitled to enter the elite competition.


That last sentence is also important to me, I think that is a great clause. Personally, I think this would make for some great drama. Late in this season, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea were competing for two Champions League spots, but Spurs and Chelsea were still alive in the Europa League quarterfinals while Arsenal was out of European competition all together. So where would Chelsea and Spurs have put the emphasis, if they could qualify either way?

If this change does come to fruition though, I think that race in England demonstrates a need to get rid of the teams dropping down from the Champions League to the Europa League, because even though I think that greatly improves the quality of the Europa League knockout stages, I really don't think it's fair to Arsenal and Spurs that Chelsea got two chances to qualify for the Champions League through cup competitions because they failed so bad in the first one. But I don't think that's a change that's going to happen. Besides, if a nation is allowed five spots instead of four in the case of the Europa League winner not qualifying via league position, this becomes less of a problem. But if UEFA makes that change, they probably need to allow a fifth team in the case of what happened last year when Chelsea won the European Cup. They fit in a fifth English team when Liverpool did the same thing, they can make it work. But I think a fifth team from one country should have to start all the way in the first qualifying round, like Liverpool did.

(edited by TheBucsFan on 23.5.13 1309)
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TheBucsFan
TheChiefsFan








Since: 2.1.02

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.57
The Champions League was already in its current form when I got into European football, so I can't exactly get nostalgic for days when the European Cup was literally just for champion clubs. But what I like about that idea is that the secondary cup competitions, the UEFA Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup, both have more significance because they are contested between higher quality teams. I think the winners of all three of those competitions in years past can claim to have achieved something special. But this format we have now, the Champions League and Europa League, puts more emphasis on one really high-quality tournament, with little regard for the secondary tournament. I like this format too because it leads to more meaningful clashes between elite clubs. That Real/Barca showdown in the Champions League semifinals a couple years ago was epic, some of the most intense sports drama I've ever watched. Those kind of showdowns were very few and far between in the pre-Champions League era. John Brewin at ESPN has a good column up today recapping the history of same-league sides meeting in the European Cup: http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/espnfcunited/id/5907?cc=5901

But it's not just derbies. Arsenal/Barcelona, Chelsea/Barcelona, Milan/Barcelona, Man United/Real Madrid and many others are examples of really great stuff in the Champions League recently where one or both clubs involved were not league champions the year before. It's hard for me to imagine getting as excited about this competition without those matchups. So overall I think the change has been a good one, but the question just becomes what to do about the Europa League. This is as good an idea and any I've heard floated around to give it some importance, certainly in the knockout stages at least.
dMr
Andouille








Since: 2.11.02
From: Edinburgh, Scotland

Since last post: 43 days
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.67
For as long as they let teams who fail in the Champions League to drop into the Europa it will always be viewed as 2nd or 3rd rate because, by definition, that's precisely what it makes it. When many of the biggest names in the field view the tournament as a consolation prize, it's not hard to figure out fans' apathy.

What's particularly silly about this plan is that teams in the CL have a second chance of getting into next year's tournament only if they fail early enough for the safety net of the Europa League to be available. Taking this year as an example, pretend Chelsea miss out on the top 4 in the EPL. They would be rewarded with Champions League football because they were sufficiently guff in that competition to get knocked out early enough to make the Europa League. Malaga, on the other hand (financial improprieties notwithstanding) win their group, knock out Porto and come within a whisker and a dodgy goal of making the semis of the CL yet.... would get nothing. How is this rewarding performance on the field?

    Originally posted by TheBucsFan
    That Real/Barca showdown in the Champions League semifinals a couple years ago was epic, some of the most intense sports drama I've ever watched.


Sounds like you should check out La Liga and the Copa del Rey


    Arsenal/Barcelona, Chelsea/Barcelona, Milan/Barcelona, Man United/Real Madrid and many others are examples of really great stuff in the Champions League recently where one or both clubs involved were not league champions the year before.


Well, where neither team was a champion the year before these games would've just happened in the UEFA Cup. The other issue I'd say this highlights is that every team you named there comes from three of the four 'big' leagues. In the last 18 years there's been one winner from outwith Spain, Italy, Germany and England. Yay variety! In the 80s and early 90s you had teams from France, Romania, Yugoslavia, Portugal and Holland enjoying success. The Champions League in its current format has just killed the chances of clubs from 'smaller nations' (i.e. those with less lucrative TV markets) not just of winning the trophy, but of building successful sides as it ensures the wealthy get wealthier while the little guy gets hosed (unless some billionaire fancies turning them into his own personal plaything).

Just cut the Champions League down to no more than two clubs from each country, get rid of parachuting from the Champion's League to the EL, drop the group stage in the EL and get rid of the ridiculous four tier seeding for the CL*.



*Clearly none of these things will actually happen and it would doubtless see revenues from the CL take a hit but it would make *me* happy which I think has to count for something.



TheBucsFan
TheChiefsFan








Since: 2.1.02

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.57
I think the runner-up team in England or Spain is virtually always better than the champion of, say, Albania. Yeah teams from lesser associations won the European Cup in years past, because the nature of a single-elimination knockout tournament where every nation is limited to a single participant means that is bound to happen more often. Personally, I'll give up a little bit of the unpredictability in order to see elite teams face off with big stakes more often.

I watch plenty of Spanish football. But what makes the game exciting isn't just the teams, it's the stakes. A Champions League semifinal is just always going to have a greater level of intensity than is a La Liga clash. And I'm more interested when that game is between two elite teams in elite leagues.

If going back to the old ways were on the table, I wouldn't be 100 percent opposed to it. I think both systems have/had strengths and weaknesses. But I think the Champions League as we know it is here to stay, so I think yours is a losing battle. I am definitely opposed to any further expansion of the Champions League though.

I would like to see the UEFA Super Cup be for a Champions League berth - in years where the Europa League winner does not qualify for the top competition via their league place, they have the ability to boot the holders from the competition by beating them in the Super Cup.
Captain Ferret
Chipolata








Since: 14.9.02
From: Manchester

Since last post: 512 days
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.46
    Originally posted by TheBucsFan
    I think the runner-up team in England or Spain is virtually always better than the champion of, say, Albania. Yeah teams from lesser associations won the European Cup in years past, because the nature of a single-elimination knockout tournament where every nation is limited to a single participant means that is bound to happen more often. Personally, I'll give up a little bit of the unpredictability in order to see elite teams face off with big stakes more often.

    I watch plenty of Spanish football. But what makes the game exciting isn't just the teams, it's the stakes. A Champions League semifinal is just always going to have a greater level of intensity than is a La Liga clash. And I'm more interested when that game is between two elite teams in elite leagues.

    If going back to the old ways were on the table, I wouldn't be 100 percent opposed to it. I think both systems have/had strengths and weaknesses. But I think the Champions League as we know it is here to stay, so I think yours is a losing battle. I am definitely opposed to any further expansion of the Champions League though.

    I would like to see the UEFA Super Cup be for a Champions League berth - in years where the Europa League winner does not qualify for the top competition via their league place, they have the ability to boot the holders from the competition by beating them in the Super Cup.


The thing about the Portuguese, Dutch, etc. leagues back in the 80's and before is they weren't weaker (people often look at those teams as though they're the same glorified feeder clubs they are now). Back then, players stayed at home more often, and for longer (especially if they were behind the Iron Curtain) and there wasn't anywhere near the proliferation of coverage for foreign leagues as there is now, so teams were taking journeys into the unknown on the away legs.

The super cup is a glorified friendly, I don't like the thought of trying to tart it up by having something that important hanging on it.
TheBucsFan
TheChiefsFan








Since: 2.1.02

Since last post: 71 days
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.57
The Super Cup thing was sarcastic on my part, though without greater effort on my part to make that clear it was totally impossible to tell, I admit. I had a longer paragraph where I likened it to a Royal Rumble winner putting his Wrestlemania title shot on the line at the February PPV, decided it was probably only funny to me, then forgot to delete that part.

Also, definitely don't mean to imply that all European champs outside England, Spain, etc., were automatically weaker. I've seen every old European Cup final I've been able to get my hands on, which is most of them from Celtic's famous win on, there have certainly been quality winners from "smaller" national associations. But I still think in general, if the objective is to come as close as possible to crowning the single "best" side in Europe (surely an exercise in futility, but bear with me), you come closer to achieving that letting in three or four sides from the top leagues today than you do by putting the champions of all the countries on equal footing.
dMr
Andouille








Since: 2.11.02
From: Edinburgh, Scotland

Since last post: 43 days
Last activity: 1 day
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.67
    Originally posted by TheBucsFan
    Also, definitely don't mean to imply that all European champs outside England, Spain, etc., were automatically weaker. I've seen every old European Cup final I've been able to get my hands on, which is most of them from Celtic's famous win on, there have certainly been quality winners from "smaller" national associations. But I still think in general, if the objective is to come as close as possible to crowning the single "best" side in Europe (surely an exercise in futility, but bear with me), you come closer to achieving that letting in three or four sides from the top leagues today than you do by putting the champions of all the countries on equal footing.
The problem is that they've created (by design) a situation where the rich leagues get richer. The way the seeding works, plus the plethora of clubs from a handful of countries, makes it near impossible for teams from 'smaller' leagues to improve. It may well be accurate to say that the fourth placed team in England is now better than the champions of Holland or Romania, but that certainly wasn't always the case in the past. The champions of these countries absolutely were elite at times, and thoroughly deserving of their success.

Saying "but to get the best teams you need more sides from England, Spain etc" misses the point. They're 'better' now because the current system is massively weighted in their favour. Change to a more equitable system that allows more countries a chance to compete on an even footing and you'd go back to a situation where the 'best' teams weren't focused on a handful of leagues.

The Champions League, for all its wonderful football at times, is ultimately devoid of real drama. We already know there's a roughly 95% likelihood that the champions will come from one of a handful of countries. The group stages in particular are little more than a glorified procession. Heck, this year the only major shock was Chelsea getting canned but they still wind up getting to call their European season a success while Shakhtar (who got through in 2nd from Chelsea's group) were predictably whacked in the first knockout round of the CL.

I've seen and lived through both versions and there's absolutely no question in my mind that for quality, drama, unpredictability and entertainment the 'old way' was better. On the other hand, the current system makes a lot more money because it panders to the big TV markets, so it's never going to change.
TheBucsFan
TheChiefsFan








Since: 2.1.02

Since last post: 71 days
Last activity: 71 days
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.57
Yes I totally agree with you there, it's actually, in my opinion, almost exactly like the situation in American college football, if you're a fan at all. Basically, the teams that happened to be great, historic, etc., during the era when football really blew up and became a huge moneymaker have a built-in advantage, and so as a result the only real drama is which of a select few number of teams come up in the roulette wheel to take their turn dominating for a few years.

But in European football, this is not unique to the Champions League. Pretty much every UEFA nation has a group of two or three clubs that just dominate their domestic scene because of this same phenomenon. This is a criticism in general of European football. I don't think an exclusively knockout European Cup competition between only the champions of each nation necessarily makes for more parity or equality in talent between sides, it's just that a knockout competition is more subject to upsets.

The Premier League, La Liga, and the Bundesliga are commercially blowing out of the water the domestic leagues in most UEFA nations, so of course those teams are going to attract the best players and have the most success. I don't see anyway possible to implement the kind of revenue sharing and salary cap mechanisms in European football that are used by the NFL, but without that I don't see anyway to try and create the sort of parity that you want.

Yeah, we know the champions will ultimately come from one of a handful of nations, but that's still a big pool of clubs. Who saw Chelsea doing what they did last year?

(edited by TheBucsFan on 24.5.13 2350)
Spank E
Kolbasz








Since: 2.1.02
From: Bournemouth, UK

Since last post: 124 days
Last activity: 12 hours
#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.97
I think another thing which has had an effect is the abolishment of the 4 foreigners rule. Way back when, teams were only allowed to field up to four players from outside their country. Of course, once the EU decided that that was an unfair restraint of trade, that rule went by the wayside and we started to see the exodus of great players from the smaller European countries in favour of playing for teams from the superpowers. When I see teams like Arsenal in the CL with a squad without a single Englishman, it makes me seriously worry about the future of the game. England struggle enough with our homegrown players as it is, let alone what would happen if the club sides are filled with 11 Carlos Kickaballs.



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