• Dan Tracey


For the past month or so there has been sometimes fraught discussion regarding the expansion of the UEFA Champions League and although such plans are yet to be signed off, change is not all that far away either.

However, that change could come in far differing guise to what was first expected and with talks of a breakaway European Super League once again surfacing, this has the potential to cause a seismic chasm within top tier football.

As before it seems to be JP Morgan who are driving change the most and this time around a cabal of 12 clubs – five of those from the Premier League, are set to announce their desire to go it alone and set up their own competitive stall.

The quintet from the Premier League are the members of the Big Six except for Manchester City and although the Etihad outfit have had run ins with UEFA in the past, they have decided this is not a path they want to tread for now.

However, even without Manchester City’s desire to cash in, it is still an incredible piece of news and although nothing has been formally constructed in terms of competition or formats, it is certainly enough to have football’s governing bodies concerned.

Concern to the point where the likes of UEFA, LaLiga and the Football Association have been quick to produce statements and announcing that any such breakaway move, would see players and clubs become ineligible for tournaments under their auspices.

This deterrent was previously offered up the last time JP Morgan tested the waters with talk of a breakaway league, and it seems such an attempt to dispel a pirate league, has not stopped the venture capitalists from trying again.

Of course, such an announcement also provides the 12 European rebels a fantastic amount of leverage when it comes to bargaining and now, they will use their new league as a tool for negotiation with UEFA.

A case of asking for more than before and if European football’s power brokers do not buckle when discussing Champions League expansion, then the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United always have their plan b to fall back.

UEFA will believe this is nothing more than brinksmanship and although they may have to buckle from their own negotiating stance, the end game is to protect the integrity of the Champions League at all costs.

Which means, a bigger revenue share for those who dine at Europe’s top table and in doing so, it may ward off the latest threat to create a footballing higher power. Then again, if compromise cannot be found, are these same 12 clubs really going to be brave enough to go it alone?

You only need to look at the ire of supporters across social media to see the potential fallout and this is before any split has taken place. Then again, in the age of big business with sport, the supporters voice means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Which means for all the furore, change could be on the horizon. With that said, change will happen, it's just a case of whether it is approved by those who sit within the headquarters of UEFA.

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