Monday, April 22, 2024

Super League-style plans would impact domestic leagues – Giorgio Marchetti

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 Mar 2024

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UEFA has admitted its own plans for a Super League-style competition would have killed interest in domestic leagues.

In 2019 European football’s governing body gave serious consideration to a new club format involving promotion and relegation, where qualification for the following season would be determined by continental performance for some.

The proposal bore some similarities to the latest version of the 64-team European Super League presented by its promoter A22 in December. Under A22’s current proposal, only 20 places based on domestic performance would be available each season – and even then into the lowest of the three ESL divisions.

UEFA’s 2019 proposal was vehemently opposed by domestic leagues who criticised the closed nature of the format, and UEFA’s deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti says the criticism of those plans – and of the Super League – is justified.

“Think of a scenario where a number of clubs already know they are in Europe, they are in the top league (of the Super League) whatever it is. What will happen to them? What are they fighting for?” he said.

“Today the battle for position four (in the Premier League) is a battle for life – now, it is like night and day between being in the Champions League and not being there.

“If in January or December I know I’m qualified (for Europe), what should I play for?

“This will be a significant downside for the integrity of the league, that this club will not have any incentive to compete. And the sporting downside becomes a serious commercial burden in the sense that the matches are not so interesting, the stakes are not there. Most probably the commercial value of the competition is also going down.

“We couldn’t honestly say (with the 2019 proposal) that there would be no impact on the leagues – there is an impact on the leagues. It’s quite obvious.

“You need the incentive of qualifying for Europe, especially to the Champions League, is too important for the leagues, both sporting and commercial.

“When you see it, you have to admit that yes, it is true.”

UEFA eventually settled on a new format for its club competitions to start next season, with the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League set to feature 36 teams each in a single league phase.

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