Thursday Afternoon Ticker: UCL could be replaced; Rooney reveals reasons for near exit; and more

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By DAN KARELL

By 2018, the UEFA Champions League as we know it could be gone.

On the second day of the Leaders in Football conference in London, the chairman of Turkish club Galatasaray, Unal Aysal, told the press and those in attendance that the 20 biggest clubs in European soccer are in “serious discussions” to create their own European Super League, and it looks like they plan to go ahead with it, with or without the backing of UEFA. The current agreement between the European Clubs Association (ECA) and UEFA ends in five years time.

“It’s not yet totally elaborated and prepared and put on the paper,” Aysal said at the conference. “But it is a concept that is under discussion for a few years. It is not a new concept, but we favor it. The system has to be put in place, either by UEFA or by the clubs themselves. Then we will decide if a breakaway will be necessity or not.”

“The first 15-20 big clubs of Europe all agree with this – nobody will say no. Manchester United, Paris St Germain, Real Madrid.”

Here are some more stories from around the world to catch up on:

ROONEY ADMITS REASONS FOR TRANSFER REQUEST LAST SPRING

For the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson told reporters last May that Wayne Rooney had handed in a transfer request, Rooney has spoken to the media about why he wanted to leave Manchester United.

Now happy and enjoying his soccer, Rooney said that he was unhappy about playing out of position last season under Ferguson. Ferguson routinely placed Rooney at times in midfield or out wide, when the English National Team star wanted to play up front as the main striker.

“I didn’t feel I got a consistent run of games up front,’’ Rooney told the Telegraph. “I actually felt when I played midfield I did okay but I didn’t want to play there. I felt I deserved the right to play in my position and that wasn’t happening.

“Everyone at the club knew that’s where I wanted to play. That’s why I was ­disappointed because I got told to play in midfield and I didn’t want to but I’d always go in and try to help the team. There had to come a point where for my own career I had to be a bit selfish really.’’

Rooney also admitted that he’ll start discussions with Man United soon over a new contract that will keep him at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future.

UEFA CONSIDERING SCRAPPING FRIENDLIES FOR “NATIONS LEAGUE”

At a recent meeting of UEFA representatives in Croatia, one of the many topics discussed was a reported “Nations League” that would replace friendly matches played by European nations.

According to Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, all 54 nations in UEFA would potentially be split up into nine groups of six teams, with promotion and relegation from the top to the bottom. The winner of the top division would receive a prize from UEFA. The league wouldn’t replace any of the qualifiers for the European Cup or World Cup that the UEFA nations partake in, but it would replace the currently friendly match structure in place.

If the “Nations League” does become reality, UEFA would likely try to centralize the television and marketing rights for every game, just like they do already for the the Champions League and Europa League.

“The success of the Champions League has already inspired the Europa League,” Norwegian FA President Yngve Hallen told Dagbladet. “This is also something they are trying to look at in connection with the Nations League – how this can sharpen the market. That’s what this is largely about.

“But there have been very clear political guidelines from all 54 federations that the focus needs to be on the football/competitive aspect. All countries should have equal opportunities.”

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see the Champions League being replaced? What do you think of Rooney’s comments? Do you like the idea of a UEFA “Nations League”?

Share your thoughts below.

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35 Responses to Thursday Afternoon Ticker: UCL could be replaced; Rooney reveals reasons for near exit; and more

  1. CJinOC says:

    My first reaction was, “What? Nations League instead of friendlies?” Then I got to this part: “UEFA would likely try to centralize the television and marketing rights for every game…” Oh… right… follow the money.

  2. bryan says:

    the Nations League idea is very interesting. i wish the US could join in…

  3. fischy says:

    Regarding the European Super League — When will those European owners stop trying to protect their investments and privilege and accept the elegant beauty of a promotion/relegation system?!?!?

  4. Northzax says:

    It’s only a matter of time for a super league. The Reals, Barcas, Bayerns of the world get the eyeballs and tv revenues, why share it with the Sunderlands of the world? (Sure, there are good reasons, but who’s gonna tell them that?

    So figure:

    Manchester United
    Man city
    Arsenal
    Liverpool
    Barca
    Real
    Bayern
    Inter
    Ac Milan
    Juventus

    First ten is easy. Then who? Chelsea? PSG? Dortmund? Roma? Athletico? Sporting? Galataserey? Spartak? Ajax? Leverkusen? Put those twenty teams together and it would make tv rights history. Nine countries, eight of then ten largest cities in Europe represented (throw in Dinamo Kiev, and you get nine, St Petersburg can deal, we don’t need two Russian teams) and it’s still a smaller travel zone then mls!

    Bread and circuses agogo!

  5. Arkie says:

    So 9 groups of 6 nations? interesting but outside of the top tier of nations (Italy, Germany, Spain, and whatever other 3 from Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, England, France, etc.) what’s the incentive? To only play against other ok to mediocre teams? It seems like a good idea for the top teams and the minnows but not for anyone else… Also, 6 team leagues would mean 10 games per year. Would that mean UEFA would schedule extra days into the calendar for these (which would benefit European national teams but not leagues) or would these teams only play European teams throughout the year what with qualification for Euros and WC (which wouldn’t really help them all that much in a world cup situation)? Surely its not going to happen… Wouldn’t want to see it in CONCACAF that’s for sure.

    • Frank says:

      Doesn’t have to be a 1-year season. Teams get to play against similar competition and there appears to be a relegation/promotion mechanism built in. Might not be a bad idea but also sounds a bit like an attempt by UEFA to generate more revenue.

  6. Dan says:

    awwwww, butthurt Turkish are so sad UEFA banned them for match fixing that they want to create their own league so match fixing can be regular.

    Stupid idea

  7. a says:

    this is just another way for UEFA corruption to rise

  8. a says:

    Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man U, PSG, Bayern
    Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Porto, Atletico Madrid
    Man City, Galatarsaay, Monaco, AC Milan, Lyon
    Bayern Leverkusen, Chelsea, Liverpool, Dynamo Kiev, CSKA Moscow

    those are the 20 teams IMO. Maybe add Ajax/Valencia/Napoli/ and take out Porto/Lyon/Monaco

  9. slyboy says:

    This whole Super League thing just confirms what I think about “most” soccer fans. They don’t actually care about the competition or the match, they only care if it is the big teams playing.
    I generally enjoy Champions league because it feels like a prize for the teams who clawed themselves to the group stages, and then you have massive upsets, and drama. The Super League would remove most of that, and with it the majority of my interest. End of Rant.

  10. Ben says:

    Goodbye promotion / relegation in a superleague.

  11. Chris H says:

    Another quote from Aysal…
    “I think it could be 20 big teams, for example, in Europe, with the last three, four or five teams can change every year. I think it can be operated in a proper way in order to make it effective and useful to European football and also to bring new horizons in football.”

    So promotion and relegation is in the works as well in the Super League

  12. Mario in QT says:

    Would there be any dates left for friendlies with the US or other non-UEFA nations?

  13. 2tone says:

    This isn’t new. This concept has been debated upon the past decade. Eventually it will happen. The money for teams involved in a super league is too much to turn down. Think NFL type of money.

  14. Mike says:

    If the Super League is implemented, will a club that consistently finishes mid-table still be considered a “big club”? The answer is no, and it’s the major reason why a “super league” is stupid.

    • Nick says:

      I agree that a team like that SHOULDN’T be considered a big club (i.e. Liverpool for the last few seasons until now). However, if a super league did end up happening you can be sure that every club involved would be able to have their pick of any player in the world regardless of how they finished in their last domestic season. This is Champions League times 10 and we see players leave for champions league every transfer window. The 20 teams involved would be the richest teams in the world by a considerable margin. How much do you think premier league tv rights would sell for without Manchester United, Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool? Not very much…

      • Nick says:

        I’m not sure I actually said what my point was, but I was saying that any club invited to a super league would become a big club again overnight. With that fact in mind the history of a club like Liverpool would mean more than a club like Everton even though Everton has finished above Liverpool the last two seasons.

        • Scweeb says:

          I would also imagine that these clubs would have to have a some proof that they can spend X amount on players to enter. That way its more an even playing field. I would also imagine they do a relegation maybe every 2-4 years. And then the winner of what would be the left over champions league would then get promoted.

  15. Kevin says:

    I wonder what kind of financial sharing setup this Super League would have with the nations from which the “Super Clubs” come? It seems unlikely that the clubs playing in the super league would be interested in sharing with the Sunderland’s of Europe, but if they did such a league could help to strengthen the domestic leagues and make promotion/relagation a real possibility.

    There is no reason to think promotion/relegation would go away since super league teams could be chosen in the same way champions league spaces are today

  16. MisterJC says:

    A super league just doesn’t make much sense to me. For one, if FIFA and UEFA don’t sanction it, those clubs would be rebels. That means the players can’t participate in national team events and other official competitions. How would legal arrangmemts with the players association (FIFPro) work? Promotion and relegation would be out because the domestic leagues probably wouldn’t let a club back in after leaving. Also, what kind of transfer rules would apply? Would there be a salary cap so the owners couldn’t gain an advantage?

    The big clubs are just that due to their domestic leagues. The first few seasons would be exciting, but eventually, the middling clubs would lose some luster and clout, leading to financial loses. I do not see such a thing succeeding in the long term…

  17. Rey Pygsterio says:

    Will all the games in the European Super League be played in Qatar?

  18. PD says:

    There’s a part of me that think that the respective domestic leagues would be more exciting if you skim out the predictable 2 (or in the EPL’s case, 4) heavy hitters. The question is, would an increase in competition lead to an increase in revenue?

    • Jacknut says:

      Probably not. It’s the big clubs that drive the all-important TV ratings and sponsorships. People wil tune in to wach Stoke vs. Man United, but relatively few will sit through Stoke-Sunderland.