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Wresting Control From The Red Devils

Aug 15, 2008
The last couple of years have seen a considerable reduction in the control massively rich football clubs have on the way football is run in Europe and in the rest of the world. The good news is that this has meant that many of football values have either come back or been reinforced and this largely thanks to FIFA and UEFA taking a stand. The bad news is there is still much left to be desired. Let's go through the 2 big changes that have occurred since.

The first big change occurred in 2003, when UEFA eliminated for once, and for all, the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Put simply, the second group stage had been created to maximise the amount of revenue that participating clubs could get. More games meant more money. But more games also meant more player burnouts. It was an exercise in which the main losers were the players themselves.

However, the biggest loser is you and me, the football fans. The second group stage was never a spectacle, because there simply never was a do-or-die scenario for the teams. It was even against the spirit of the European Cup (which is the old name of the Champions League), whose history is built around great and memorable knockout games. There have been so many great matches, and it's a shame that the second group stage was killing that.

The other big change to take place in recent is the disbandment of the G14 group of the richest and most powerful clubs in the world. It was formed in 2000, to represent the interests of these clubs against the interests of the political bodies, mainly UEFA and FIFA.

What was best for the game was never the concern of the G14 group of clubs. For example, for some time, there was talk of forming a European league solely for the richest clubs in the world. Fortunately, it didn't happen mainly due to the stand FIFA and UEFA took. During the existence of the G14 group, the gulf between rich and poor clubs grew immensely, which means that the end of G14 in January of this year could finally mean that this problem can be rectified.

The decision to get rid of the second group stage was a symbolic victory for football's interests over club's interests. It was the first sign that clubs will no longer be free to reign and make decisions as to how the game is run. The '6+5 rule' proposed by Sepp Blatter will continue this trend of wrestling control from clubs, and will be subject of my next article.

That said, this doesn't mean that we've solved the problem for there is much that can still be done. For one, the fact remains that most wealth divide seems to be getting bigger and this is putting small poor clubs under severe financial pressure, potentially making some prestigious clubs go under. The solution to such a problem is not easy at all, nevertheless I hope to propose some solutions in my next few articles.

Club loyalty is one aspect of football that seems to be extinct. These days, money talks louder than ever before, probably because there's more of it going around. The new generation of players are also more arrogant than before and as a result club loyalty has taken a beating. If this continues, who knows where football will end up in future years?
About the Author
About the author: Antonio da Silva is the main writer of SportsNewsFootball.com, a leading sports news football website known for its fearless and acute analysis of the major stories affecting the beloved game of football.
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