The Proposed Champions League Changes Once Again Expose the Worrisome State That Football Could Be Heading Towards

Champions League changes
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Almost a year on from the proposed European Super League – something lambasted as one big money move and the death of football as we know it – and the changes put forward for the Champions League have once again exposed football’s top dogs for their greed and quite frankly, complete naivety.

These changes, you ask, for a competition whose leaders were at the forefront of the ESL protests? According to the Athletic, the proposal places 36 teams in a single league for the group stage, with a guarantee of 10 games. Of those 36 places, two will go to teams based on their European performance in the five years prior. And those teams must have finished just outside of the Champions League places in their respective leagues.

Meanwhile, a place will go to the fifth best European team, and the champions. The Athletic also understands that leapfrogging of other teams will be prevented, so, if Manchester United finished sixth, they could not leapfrog a side such as Burnley in fifth place. It all sounds very complicated doesn’t it? In fact, it all sounds very super league-like, doesn’t it…?

Proposed Champions League Changes Worryingly Similar to Super League

Why Fix What’s Not Broken?

The Champions League is the greatest club competition in the world of sport, lets make that clear. Something didn’t suddenly change; the fans did not suddenly begin loathing instead of loving the drama. Yet, first went our beloved away goals, and now we could wave goodbye to the current format all together.

What’s more, the Super League, the idea that football became united in hating, is very quickly looking like a recurring Scooby Doo villain. Best believe, if you pick away at Aleksander Čeferin’s head, Florentino Perez’s grin will emerge in similar fashion to that of the Undertaker when the lights go out at exactly this time of year.

When the Super League was (likely almost quite literally) shot down by fans last April, it felt like a major victory. We had reclaimed football. It was ours! One year later, and that win feels and looks like the very definition of false hope. Did we really reclaim our game? Was it ever really OUR game in the first place? The face on the bills of football currency suggest it has never been further from ours.

Football is on a Dangerous Slope

On the one hand, the last two months have shown how football can be an attempted power for change. Roman Abramovich’s ownership of Chelsea came to an end following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Football, for once it seems, was on the right side of history.

Yet, come winter, when we’re all gearing up for the usual festivities and undoubtedly complaining about the cold temperatures, football will be taking its biggest draw to Qatar, a place not practical to host a competition such as the World Cup from a general sense (it had to be moved to winter, after all), and from a moral sense such is the country’s woeful human rights record.

Money, however, talks louder than anything in a game many dare to still label as beautiful. And that money could turn football’s pretty face pretty ugly very quickly.

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