Champions League games could now move out of Europe to make them ‘more accessible’ – Clubs to discuss
Clubs will now meet to discuss playing Champions League games outside of Europe.
The general assembly of the European Club Association (ECA) will get together in Istanbul this week, the ECA represents the interests of clubs that regularly compete in European football’s major competitions, including of course, the Champions League.
The Athletic have now reported that they have sources that have revealed this meeting with see discussions on the subject of moving a number of Champions League games outside of Europe.
The various club owners who are behind the idea, claim that taking Champions League games outside of Europe, will make ‘meaningful games more accessible to the clubs’ global fanbases.’
These discussions looking to find ways in which they can ‘grow the sport’ and…drive revenues.
Major markets that could / would be targeted are the likes of US, China and the Middle East.
The sources that have revealed the planned discussions to The Athletic, say that the initial idea would be playing some early group games outside of Europe, rather than the later higher profile (value!) knockout matches.
The Athletic quote an ECA report released last week, where they claimed a survey showed that “34 per cent of football fans in China and 28 per cent in the US were influenced by a major competition or event to start following football.”
The report then stating: “This highlights that there are opportunities for European clubs and competitions to build on this interest and influence; to increase the availability of European club football to these audiences and allow exposure to these events to continue building further and deeper interest and engagement.”
Some of you reading this may well be laughing, what has the Champions League got to do with Newcastle United fans, why should they / we be bothered what is going to be discussed by these current elite clubs?
Well, just daydream for a minute…
This Newcastle United project under the new owners builds year on year and NUFC end up finishing top four and qualifying for the Champions League.
Then say Newcastle are drawn in a group with, for example, Real Madrid. Imagine that, Real Madrid coming to St James’ Park, what a night that would be. However, you then discover that rather than Tyneside, the Newcastle v Real Madrid Champions League match is to be played in New York, Beijing or…Riyadh. Imagine then Newcastle beat Real Madrid 3-2, one of the club’s massive milestone events, but only a relative handful of Newcastle United fans are there to see this famous ‘home’ victory. For those of us who were there 25 years and two days ago inside St James’ Park to see Newcastle 3 Barcelona 2, imagine if instead that had been played on the other side of the World and you had been sitting at home watching on TV, missing one of the greatest ‘home’ games of your lifetime?
Similarly, for those who experienced the joys of Champions League (and other EUROPEAN) away games at the likes of Inter Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Monaco, Feyenoord and many more, what if those games instead had been played in somewhere inaccessible (realistically) for the vast majority who did enjoy such great experiences / memories?
Plus of course, whilst they mention it just being some of the early group games, we all know how these things work. It is always the thin end of the wedge. Once they then justify playing group games outside Europe by saying look at how much more money was made, as compared to playing the matches at the usual old boring home stadiums…it then becomes, just imagine how much more money could be made by playing the most prestigious knockout Premier League matches at a venue wherever in the World prepared to pay the most to host it / them?
This is an evil / poison right throughout the sport.
It is how we ended up with World Cups awarded to Russia and Qatar, corruption / money the deciding factor.
Only in the last couple of years we twice saw the ‘big six’ try to steal football from the rest of us.
Firstly, when they tried to force through plans that would have given the self-appointed half dozen elite executive voting power, whereby their ‘super’ votes could change whatever to suit themselves, not needing even a majority of clubs to vote in favour of proposals.
Secondly, the ‘big six’ were very willing (despite whatever they claimed afterwards) partners in the proposal to try and create the European Super League where they would all be automatically included without having to qualify. Basically leaving the rest of the Premier League clubs to rot in a now massively devalued competition.
These people who own major football clubs, they are all, with very rare (if any) exceptions simply driven by money, power and prestige. Fans, tradition, history are nothing to them.
We have already seen these jokers who have taken over at Chelsea, wanting to dictate to the Premier League / English football and they have only been here two minutes. They haven’t paid £2.5bn to buy Chelsea and then promised to invest another £1.75bn, for the love of it. Making money is what they and pretty much all the rest are about, even if it is long-term plans.
Honestly, if they could get away with it, the vast majority of club owners would happily agree to never playing another match at the club’s usual stadium, if it was shown they could get far richer by playing anywhere else and they could get away with it.
Whether it is Premier League or Champions League or whatever, we can’t let a handful of chancers steal football completely from the people.
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