Sadly the G-14 are at it again. Agitating for more money for their select band of footballing mercenaries.
The G-14, you will recall, are the self appointed elite of European football – the 14 clubs who consider that the European game should be continually redesigned and remodeled to suit their interests. In truth the G-14 does include a who’s who of Europes giants – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan, Juventus, Bayern Munich etc but their attitude and control over the game is very worrying.
The G-14 are precisely the reason that the champions league has become the oversized and largely uninteresting competition that it has. Certainly by the time it gets to the last 8 the champions league is superb – exciting, skillful, full of thrills, the worlds greatest players all on the one stage – but in the early rounds it is oh so dreary. And is it any wonder? Champions league? Well firstly its not a league but a series of mini leagues ending in a knockout. A shock first or second round elimination can cost a club millions and of course shocks are far less likely in group situations than in knockouts. Besides even if a top club does go out they will have had at least 6 income generating matches.
Secondly they aren’t even champions. In order to sustain the requisite cash flow to employ the worlds greediest players, the G-14 successfully agitated enough to have the 2nd, 3rd and even FOURTH teams from Europes best leagues allowed to enter. The reason of course is that no top club can afford to not be in the elite tournament. How can Milan, Juventus & Inter all be in the European Cup if only the champions are allowed in?
This week G-14 spokesman Karl Heinz Rummenigge has argued that clubs should be reimbursed players salaries when those players are on international duty. And yes he was serious. “Somethings wrong when you have a world cup worth millions but the clubs don’t see a cent and even make losses ” he said. “Compensation could be paid to the clubs from prize money and appearance fees routinely paid at such tournaments”, he went on.
Now pardon me for asking but exactly what do clubs have to do with the world cup? Surely any “prize money or appearance fees” should be distributed throughout any of the national associations and reach areas such as development of juniors, referees, coaches, facilities etc, long before the clubs get so much as a sniff.
The G-14 are a blight on the beautiful game. If they are allowed to continue along their money making path they will ultimately cause the death of international football. Already Manchester United and Arsenal caused the recent England v Australia match to degenerate into a farce. Their complaints about releasing players caused the England manager to select two entirely different teams – one for each half. How sweet it was that Australia won and convincingly too.
I fear it is only a matter of time before G-14 clubs start objecting to their players playing in world cups…. after such long hard seasons competing against Europes other elite clubs the players will surely need the rest…….