For the World Cup AND Premier League – Competition needs to rule
It is almost time to blow the final whistle.
Later today it is the World Cup final on the 32nd day of what has been a splendid tournament.
Maybe it has been all the better because it was so unexpected. All the talk of dubious voting to host the event and worries about mayhem on the streets, have been largely filed away as fans have enjoyed some very entertaining football.
Maybe the key to it as been the competitiveness. Not any real stand out teams but lots of decent quality sides with so very little between them, meaning the vast majority of games you were never totally sure of the final outcome.
In club football we have become so used to big divides, the haves and have nots.
This past season even saw huge divides at the very top in the five major European leagues.
Manchester City were 19 points ahead of the next best, Barcelona 14 points, PSG 13 points, whilst Bayern Munich triumphed by a whopping 21 points.
Only in Italy did we see some kind of a competition, Juventus eventually carrying on their domination with a four point margin over Napoli – but even then there was a huge 18 points gap between Juve and the club in third.
With added sunshine and favourable kick-off times at this World Cup for most people back in the UK, topped off by England lasting into the final week, it was a potent mix.
Even at the end of the group stages there were very few meaningless games, even the England v Belgium match ended up full of intrigue as everybody wondered whether it was better to win or lose.
Once again, contrast this with the final day of the Premier League season which is often a highlight of Sky Sports’ footballing year.
As usual three games were shown live but the title was decided weeks and weeks beforehand, so they were left grasping at very thin straws – very vague chances of Southampton going down and Liverpool failing to get a Champions League spot. Neither thing ever looked faintly likely to happen at any point.
The ‘bigger’ (more successful) clubs recently pushed through a move which will all but guarantee them a bigger share of Premier League money from the expanding overseas TV revenues. Ironic that some of those pushing most for this were American owners, over in the States their major domestic sports are organised to try and ensure competition because that drives more money overall for the majority.
When sport is so cash driven as is the case with the Premier League, it is never going to end well. By making it ever tougher for the rest to compete with this overseas TV cash change, they could ultimately have scored the biggest ever own goal.
Just like the World Cup, those that are generally more successful need everybody else, because there is not then a brilliant tournament as we have watched these past 30 days.
Just like Leicester City winning the Premier League in 2015/16, ultimate success for Croatia (population around 4m) this afternoon could be the perfect finale to a near perfect tournament.
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