It has been an idea I myself have been heralding for many a season; a European Super League. But I don’t mean one that could see the biggest clubs in Europe pump up their revenues even more but rather increase the revenue available for some of the clubs in Northern Europe who have struggled to keep up with the rest of Europe in the financial market; including Scottish clubs.
I remember seeing, a few years ago perhaps, that a fat-cat at Belgian club Club Brugges had earmarked a potential North European Super League; it was eventually dispelled as rumour and conjecture but as an intrigued football fan I remember distinctly thinking, why not?
Aberdeen, Celtic, Hearts and Rangers have been included in the current talks and the quite obvious demise of Rangers financially may have acted as the catalyst in this potentially game changing argument. The clubs across these leagues have been polarized from the rest of Europe as TV revenue dwindles in nations such as Scotland, Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia. The result has been a graveyard of football clubs with Rangers one of the lucky ones who received a last minute resuscitation.
Excelsior Mouscron, La Louviere, FC Karnten, Lyn FC Oslo, FC Moscow, HFC Haarlem, Gretna FC and many other clubs with historical prestige and famous former players have not managed to withstand the recession as clubs from the continents bigger leagues seem to fend it off at will.
While the formation of such a league would not be of much benefit to teams of this stature clubs such as Rangers, Hearts and Feyenoord have all struggled with their finances in recent years and once great clubs such as PSV, Ajax, Anderlecht and Rosenberg have been reduced to selling clubs as their finances run dry. They do not want to join this graveyard and whereas before they would have considered themselves immune to such destitution what has happened at Ibrox is a warning light to all similarly established clubs that they are staring into the precipice and change could be at foot.
So far it has only been mentioned in passing but UEFA are reportedly interested in the idea, with a pyramid system complete with promotion and relegation to avoid it becoming a franchised league also being mooted and even the potential for teams to qualify for the Champions League and Europa League via the system.
The immediate issue however is who qualifies for such a league; Dutch, Swiss, Belgian, Scandinavian and Scottish clubs have already been mentioned with the likes of Ajax, Twente, Basel, Copenhagen and Molde all potential entrants but what about clubs from further afield who may feel obliged to be involved. Austria, Hungary, Romania and Czech clubs even Polish clubs would want a piece of this pie and if that pie is as profitable as some believe it could be it won’t be long till the Portuguese, Ukrainian and Russian sides come knocking at the door.
If you can keep it at what they currently desire yes it works, but would Rangers even be welcomed? Technically this is a team playing in Division 3 of Scotland, just how would it work? Who goes in and how do they qualify? On league positional merit or prestige and history?
What do you think, could it work and how? More importantly would you want to see it?
Here is a hypothetical first 24 teams that could create an inaugural Super League…
BSC Young Boys
Hearts of Midlothian
Red Bull Salzburg
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