I spent almost a decade attending the monthly shareholders meetings of the Premier League (PL) and I was also a member of a number of PL committees which put forward policy recommendations across a range of topics.
It is fair to say there was always an underlying tension in meetings that reflected the aspirations of the so called top six clubs and the remaining fourteen clubs. The biggest clubs essentially believed that they should have an ever-increasing share of the money pot. In truth of course the split of TV monies favours the top clubs in any event as the money is split as a basic award, a match fee for each televised game and a merit payment based on the final league position. As the biggest clubs generally speaking finish in the top six positions and are covered the most by TV, they get the biggest share of the cake. Add to that the fact they keep the home gate receipts and they don’t fare that badly.
Even back in my time in the Premier League, the threat from the big six was always that they would leave the League and move to form a European Super League. So, it was no surprise when details emerged last week of discussions being progressed by the top European clubs towards the formation of that League. The proposal is to replace the UEFA Champions League with a 20 Club League. The domestic leagues would continue – I can guarantee that there will be pressure to reduce the Premier League to 18 teams and there will be some noise around the future of both The FA Cup and the League Cup. But the reality is that the big clubs will increasingly use both competitions to give run outs to both their squad players and up and coming young academy players.
FIFA has been quick to dismiss talk of any new league although they would, wouldn’t they? These proposals will be of concern to so many national associations whose teams will miss out on entry to the new League and FIFA will not want to upset those bodies for sure.
If the new League was to go ahead it would be a midweek league so next time you hear a top six manager bemoaning the fixture list and the impact on his players and the tiredness it causes remind yourself of this proposal and the support for it by the big six and ask what impact the travelling and the matches associated with this new League would have. It is on a par with those clubs who go on lucrative Far East pre-season tours and then bemoan player tiredness.
The reality is that in the end money talks and sooner or later this Super League will happen.
Peter Varney – Chairman, Integral Sports Management
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Photograph: Fifa/Getty Images