However, taking out my bias, I think this is a great move for UEFA. The exiting president, Johansson had been in office for the past 16 years. There is no doubt that European football has seen some tremendous changes and improvements. The European Nations Cup has really seen its "star appeal" the past few tournaments, it is truly a mini-World Cup The Champions League is an international event, albeit it has become too power league dominated more on that later. But it was time for some new thinking and new blood at the helm of the UEFA.
A couple of issues that Platini will be championing:
- A salary cap for spending. On the surface this would be a great idea, give clubs who do not have multi-billionaires bank rolling them a chance to sign and compete. When is the last time a team not named Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea won the premiership? And Chelsea only started winning when a questionable billionaire from Russia opened his bank account to the spending orgy that has defined Chelsea the past few years. How about in Italy or Spain, where clubs not named Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Real Madrid or Barcalona rarely mount a long term challenge. When is the last time we have seen teams like Newcastle, Tottenham, AS Roma, Lazio, Atheletico Madrid to name a few mount a season over season challenge in their domestic leagues? The main hurdle with a salary cap, is unlike the NFL or NBA in the United States we are talking about a multiple leagues through out Europe. With different budgets, revenues, markets, cost of living issues, etc it will be extremely difficult to impose a salary cap, would it be done on an individual league? How would the cap in England measure to the one in Holland? Would you have to do a revenue sharing model? Would that be pan Europe? I think there are too many hurdles, as well as too much opposition from the powerful clubs, to make this happen.
- Limiting nations to 3 teams for the Champions League. This is something I agree with Platini. Of course the loudest voices against this are emerging from the "big leagues," especially from the blow hard loud mouth Manchester United manager SAF. Some of us remember when the Champions League, or at the time the Champions Cup, was limited to the teams that WON their domestic league...isn't that a novel idea, allow the teams that won their league to see who is the best of Europe. Now some might argue that the best team in the Portugese league is not as good as a second place Real Madrid team or a third place Arsenal team. However I would argue that the team that won the Portugese league had to win consistently to win a domestic league championship, and that gives them a right to be measured with the best clubs in Europe.
Allowing the smaller leagues to get more teams into the dance of the Champions League will get them more access to the Champions League revenue, help build the clubs, help retain players, and make the competition more competitive! Additionally, this would give the UEFA cup more appeal by adding another big club from Spain, Italy and
England. I hope that Platini finds a way to work with the leagues to get this passed. I think that it is a bit of a joke that Liverpool was the Champions League winner two years ago, when they have not won a domestic league titles since 1990! Being in the Champions League is something a team must earn, not an exclusive club for the likes of Italy, England and Spain.
- Racism and corruption, these are problems that have plagued European and International football for decades. Platini will need to make this a top priority with regards to his administration. Will he eliminate these problems, no. But he can put in place the proper controls and punishments to limit these issues and eradicate as much as possible within the European leagues. Teams need to be punished severly for allowing their fans to be racist morons...when PSG fans run wild and lead to the death of a fan they and the French League need to be punished. When Juventus and others are caught looking to fix matches, they need to suffer true punishement and not be able to appeal their way back into the Champions League (as did AC Milan). The carrot has been pumped up over the past few years, now the stick needs to be strengthened as well.