“The commercial monstrosity that is the Champions League calls it, has long been no kampioenenliga more

In the past six editions of the CL were won by clubs that are there in the original formula with just / or revised – not once would have been, says Frank Van Laeken. “And in the future will be the Big Money even more to reign in the most important European clubcompetitie. Poenscheppen is more important than winning. A lot of fun later with Anderlecht and Celtic.’

Real Madrid won the Champions League in 2016 and 2015 © Belga Image


The commercial monstrosity that is the Champions League calls it, has long been no kampioenenliga more

If the players of Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht and Celtic Glasgow Wednesday around twenty to nine, the turf is entering, it will be the applause of all the banks, splashing and echoing seconds later the pompous anthem of the Champions League at the Constant Vanden stock stadium. But in all other voetbalminnende countries outside of the uk and Scotland will be a loud ‘Who cares?’ to hear. Or howls of derision. That is ever otherwise been.

Exactly half a century ago, won Celtic the first British club ever, the European for / or revised, the forerunner of the Champions League (which in 1992 was entered). The cup with the big ears. The anti-football of Internazionale of Milan was punished by the werkmansvoetbal of the groenwitten, with a starring role for the frivolous dribbelaar Jimmy Johnstone, the flea. In the same 1967 lost to city rival Glasgow Rangers in the final of the European for the winners ‘ cup. Three years later, the Celtic, the pride of the catholic section of the Scottish capital, and again in the final. There they lost to Feyenoord. Rangers won the 1972 european cup II, Aberdeen did that in 1983 and again.

The European glory days of Belgian football are situated between 1976 and 1978, with five finals in three seasons time, well for two Europacups for Anderlecht. Later, in 1983, would Anderlecht the UEFA Cup win. Also KV Mechelen have won a european cup. In 1990, lost to Anderlecht in the final of the european cup II, the second-last time that a Belgian club in the final phase of a clubtoernooi reached. Celtic succeeded in the 2002-2003 season in the final of the UEFA Cup, but it was the FC Porto coach José Mourinho to strong.


icipating is important than winning, you could say, though it be more accurate to ‘participate’, to be replaced by ‘poenscheppen’

In 2017, the Belgian and Scottish clubs followers in the Champions League. icipating is important than winning, you could say, though it be more accurate to ‘participate’, to be replaced by ‘poenscheppen’.


In a just world of football would Anderlecht and Celtic with the necessary respect to be treated. Thirty-four towards forty-eight league titles, nine against thirty-seven national cups, four Europabekers and five lost finals, that deserves respect. Real Madrid the most successful club in European tournaments to name a few, was ‘only’ thirty-three times champion of Spain. Anderlecht is already there, from 1964, each year European, Celtic and even since 1962.

Those impressive numbers to say at the same time a lot about the actual value of the Belgian and the Scottish league, if you that is rebelling against the European top countries. The Jupiler Pro League and Scottish Premiership are tweederangscompetities, the Mickey Mouse league. Transit, populated with players who just are not good enough or that their best days have had, with limited budgets, also have been playing Celtic its home matches than for almost vijfenvijftigduizend spectators on average. ‘Cannon fodder’, called François Colin, the participants of the ‘small’ football countries in the Champions League in his column in Sports/Voetbalmagazine. Good for a cart-load of goals. Tégendoelpunten, that is.


Not unimportant: next summer is going to be a new tv contract. The market is only interested in the big ones, not the little ones

The economic inequality is only getting bigger: the gap between the top 5 countries and the rest is irreconcilable. That will not change when starting the season 2018/2019 Spain, England, Germany and Italy guaranteed four clubs may depute. So far had the numbers in four of those competitions have a preliminary round play, the next summer, they are there. Cash register cash register. The countries which the numbers four and ten occupy on the UEFA Ranking have jointly entitled to eight tickets for the kampioenenbal. By way of compensation there may be in the Europa League than fifty million euro will be divided among the participating clubs. Next to nothing. Call it zwijggeld.


Not unimportant: next summer is going to a new tv contract. By the security that there are more clubs from the big countries will participate, wants UEFA to higher revenues for the clubs and for themselves to guarantee. The market is only interested in the big ones, not the little ones. That may, at most, their fifteen minutes of fame to claim, briefly along the cashier to pass (which they onbereikbaarder be in their own league) and then drain off.

1,269 billion euro, there must be this edition of the Champions League under the thirty-two clubs divided. The winner knows himself to be assured of an amount between fifty and eighty million. That has to do with the bizarre scale, which for forty percent is taken into account the tv rights per country to be paid, the so-called ‘market pool’.


In the past six editions of the Champions League were won by clubs that are there in the old formula with only / or revised – not once would have been

Understand that a club from a country where more is coughed up by the tv channels, will also earn more. So could it be that the runners-up Juventus in 2015 more again than winner Barcelona, for the simple reason that Italian tv channels a lot more to pay for the broadcasting rights than Spanish. So it also comes that a Dutch club about the double will then receive a Belgian. Miserly Dutchmen? No, fuel-efficient Belgian stations! There are now forty times more money in the Champions League at the start a quarter of a century ago, according to Hans Vandeweghe in The Morning.

The matteüseffect – the rich are getting richer, the poor get poorer – plays in the football much more than in ordinary life. The result is that clubs that are not from Spain, Germany, England or Italy, a very low chance of making it to the Champions League to win, unless the Qatari money of PSG went against the financial fair play in for an artificial French success would ensure. It is ago of 2004 and FC Porto, a club from a non-professional country triumphed.


The commercial monstrosity that is the Champions League and dare to call it has long been no kampioenenliga more. Since the summer of 1997, to be exact. From that time there were several clubs from the top countries admitted. Of the thirty-two participants in the group stage, there are less than seventeen champion of their country. Of the sixteen clubs that last season for the eighth-finals qualified, there were only six in 2016 champion of their country. Fact: the last time that a champion one year later the Champions League won already dates from 2011. Indeed, over the past six editions of the CL were won by clubs that are there in the old formula with only / or revised, such as up to and including the season 1996/1997 gold – not even when it would have been. What do you mean, kampioenenbal?


It is 2017, sentiment and romance are for the ancients of voetbaldagen, for the Statlers & Waldorfs on the perstribune

In times of financial excesses, economies of scale, an oligopoly of four or five economically strong football conference and led draws think voetbalromantici if I ever go back to the time that the European of referee appointments, suggested still that name. To the season 1987/1988, for example, when in the first round with direct elimination – the champions of Spain and Italy against each other were drawn: Real Madrid, the Napoli of Diego Maradona mercilessly. Further placed Omonia Nicosia (Cyprus) against Shamrock Rovers (Ireland) and defeated Lillestrøm (Norway) Linfield (Northern Ireland).

I know, the clock will not be reversed. In the headquarters of the European football association, there will be under the pressure of the big football clubs do not even look at the English FA Cup – where you’re in the third round, the first in which the Premier League clubs to show up, a Manchester derby and experience, or, say, Liverpool-Chelsea -, no, if that pesky little clubs all the way there can be filtered out, marriage shall happen. Sans embarrassment. (And where would we, Belgians, are allowed to complain, even if in the Croky Cup, godbetert, a led draw is applied to the first graders silent in the last sixteen to be able to sheds.)

The tv viewer pays anyway, as it turns out. The average Luxembourg soccer will also prefer to Manchester City-Napoli (two non-champions) look at F91 Dudelange against Hibernians FC. To be very honest: when I look, it will also to the poster with the better players, and that walk is very rare in Luxembourg or Malta around. The demand is driven by the offer. Sporting standards are (heavy) subordinated to the economic. It is 2017, sentiment and romance are for the ancients of voetbaldagen, for the Statlers & Waldorfs on the perstribune, for naïevelingen with a conscience and a deep sense of justice.

All well and good, but you can call it, please do not submit longer to the Champions League. Call it the Big Money League, or something that better fits. That would at least be fairer.

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