Platini Elected UEFA President
Michel Platini celebrated being voted in as the new UEFA president and then announced he will push ahead with controversial changes to the Champions League.
Platini, who won a tough contest against incumbent Lennart Johansson, will present proposals in April which from 2009-10 would limit the number of clubs in Europe's elite competition to three from any one country.
The Football Association and Premier League are expected to go to work to try and persuade Platini to maintain the status quo which allows England, Spain and Italy to have four clubs qualify.
Platini said: "The new format of the Champions League is for 2009.
"I talked about finding a better equilibrium for the number of clubs and that's for 2009-10.
"The final decision will be (by UEFA's executive committee) in April so we have a few months still to see which way we will go, but I would like a better equilibrium, it is very close to my heart."
Drogballs: First of all, I'm a fan of this man. He's a great player and I have a lot of respect for him. I even think he should run for FIFA presidency and kick that Sepp Bladder(sp) off his arse and I'm sure he'll bring changes to the game because he truly loves the game.
But now look at the new format he's going to introduce to the Champions League presumably in 2009. 3 teams from all major leagues including our own English Premiership, Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga. Although he wants the competition to stay 'true' to it's name as a league for the Champions, what he's doing is systemically marginalising teams and might even widen the gap between the top 2/3 teams and the rest of the teams in their respective league.
Think about this. Teams competing in the Champions League will get major TV rights while the rest languished in second rated UEFA Cup or what have you. They get perhaps 10 or more so million into their coffers and gets stronger with new recruits in every season.
The rest of the league struggle to compete in terms of financial strength. And every season will just be like going through motion. You could already tell who the teams are to compete for that 3 places and what's the rest going to play for? Already with 4 places, the predictability is there and we all know which 4 teams are going through (if nothing goes wrong, of course).
He might have a point that it'll increase the level of competitiveness in the league. But I believe that it'll only increase the level of competitiveness at the top of the table perhaps top 5 or 6 teams. Other teams will either be fighting for survival or, languishing with mediocrity.
Teams like Everton (not like I care), Spurs, Bolton and Portsmouth will feel hard done with. When they actually thought they could push for fourth and qualify for the Champions League, now they'll feel like standing in front of a close shop with barricades around it. And all these years of building and fighting might make them feel as if all the efforts have gone down the drain.
Another concern would be the way the G14 will react. They're a group formed by Europe's 14 most influential clubs and will they threaten to break away? If they do, what will the Champions League be like? And will this group of renegades form a so called European Super League?
It's certainly an intriguing episode yet again that could change the face of football. I believe this change in system is a significant one and how football will develop will probably base on how well the plan is implemented and received by the football clubs.