EUROPEAN FOOTBALL: UEFA CONFERENCE LEAGUE IS TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
European football is the standard in today's game, the Champions League is seen as a must for any successful team, with its secondary, The Europa League viewed more as a “good enough” trophy.
This season however will feature the latest in European competitions, the UEFA Europa Conference League. The Conference league is to add yet another level of Europa football acting as a feeder to the Europa League with the winner being qualified automatically for the following years competition. But this addition begs the question on whether there are too many European competitions and whether it devalues a reward which is now the standard for any top league team?
Since the 1950’s European football has been a staple of the modern game with the best teams in Europe going head-to-head for the biggest prize in club football. Whilst the addition of the Conference League allows teams from smaller nations to taste European football, it also simultaneously devalues it. Including the new Conference league one hundred and twelve teams will compete in group stages alone, a huge jump in recent years which now sees fifty-five countries leagues included.
The major change is how European football no longer feels like a reward, it now feels like a necessity, the norm of most teams and an easily achievable goal. As much as it feels wrong to say especially with the Super League farce still fresh in the memory, but European football should be elitist focusing instead on the “Champions”. Jeopardy is a huge part of football and failing to make the grade in the group stage should mean elimination no more Europa safety net and now the inclusion of the Conference allows those not even able to qualify in the playoffs to have a second and third chance. This may sound severe but will make European football more streamlined relying more on the best playing the best, this may also bring more attention to League trophies like the FA Cup bringing more prestige to the older competitions. Plus, with more focus on league cups many of the older generation may favour the return of the cup winner's cup another direction to be considered.
In conclusion whilst European football should be available to all and with the excitement of smaller league teams knocking out the “giants” of the game, including so many teams' forces teams to re-evaluate themselves pushing other competitions to the side to focus on these new European ambitions.