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UEFA's Wrong-Headed CL Reforms

There are only four teams in England with a realistic shot of winning the Premier League trophy every season. UEFA's egalitarian president, Michel Platini, doesn't like that very much, but the London Times' Martin Samuel says he should probably be more concerned about the domestic game in Greece, for example, where Olympiakos has won 10 of the last 11 league titles. "We think our Premier League is elitist because only four teams have the potential to win it," Samuel says. "In fact, we get off lightly."

Champions League revenue is a big reason why Europe's elite are turning into super-clubs. In lesser-known leagues, where entry is limited to one or two clubs, the wealth of the Champions League has created pronounced monopolies such as the one enjoyed by Olympiakos in Greece. Samuel says the problem is only going to get worse as Platini implements Champions League reforms that give five additional places to teams from the 40-lowest ranked nations.

"On the surface, it appears a noble, egalitarian idea," Samuel says, "distributing the Champions League treasure across the Continent and reducing the gaps in football's society; in reality, it could turn out to be the most destructive force in the history of the domestic game in some countries." Champions League revenue breeds super-clubs, and if there is only one spot to be had, one team will eventually rise to the top and corner that revenue, effectively killing competition for the league's title.

Read the whole story at London Times »

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