A LOOK AT LA LIGA
It will be the most unlikely of dinner dates, yet one of the first appointments in the diary of the new Barcelona president will be with his opposite number at Real Madrid to discuss the proposed elite European league.
Real powerbroker Florentino Pérez has been one of the leading voices in the call for a restructuring of the Champions League and Barça's newly elected president Joan Laporta needs to form a personal and official opinion of the proposals. His predecessor, Josep Maria Bartomeu, left behind many conundrums, including a statement that the club had "accepted a proposal to participate in a future European Super League".
In a nutshell the richest clubs want to insure their finances and status. Just look at recent years when the likes of Porto, Ajax, RB Leipzig and Lyon have gate-crashed the Champions League banquet. Meanwhile the aristocrats, like Manchester United, AC Milan and Arsenal are fighting for scraps in the Europa League.
The bluebloods are getting together to devise a plan which would increase their chances of staying at the top table and minimise the opportunities of the serfs rising to power.
From what I can gather the European Club Association (ECA) would form a league where the founding clubs can avoid each other via a seeding system and the teams with more limited resources would eventually knock each other out. It would be a so-called 'Swiss system' which makes sense to few.
With wonderful poetic justice, the ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli revealed the plans in a week when his club Juventus was knocked out of the Champions League by Porto. The Portuguese club don't have an invite despite having been crowned European Champions as many times as the Italian giants.
Agnelli wants the English Premier League to be reduced by a couple of clubs so he can expand the new Super League to 36 teams. I know, it doesn't make sense to me either.
Even more bizarre... he also suggests that the elite teams can't recruit players from each other. So, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé would be tied to Paris Saint-Germain - as nobody could bid for them - and he wouldn't have been allowed to sign Cristiano Ronaldo.
His plan is to increase revenue by negotiating billion-dollar television deals. I think this is an ignorant approach. In France there is a major dispute after the deal for domestic football television rights collapsed. La Liga had to write off millions in the UK when an agreement with a streaming company was annulled. They ended up giving the rights away.
Yes, it is great to see Barcelona play Liverpool or the clubs from Manchester go head to head with those from Madrid. But it was just as thrilling to see Malaga upset the hierarchy, Leipzig gate crash the party, Porto emerge every few years and Ajax remind everyone that structure can overcome signings.
Let's be blunt, at no point in the high-level discussions about a proposed new European super league has the fans' experience or public opinion been mentioned. It's like the creation of a new Royal Family and we know just how difficult it can be to make those function without an outpouring of emotion and argument about titles.