hit tracker
Friday, September 29, 2023
HomeSportsClubs from Saudi Arabia can be admitted to the European Champions League....

Clubs from Saudi Arabia can be admitted to the European Champions League. but it’s a suicide

Date: September 29, 2023 Time: 16:24:19

In 1975, the 34-year-old Pelé announced his retirement, but quickly took off his boots after a tempting offer from the New York Cosmos in the fledgling North American Soccer League (NASL). The signing of the three-time world champion was a great success for the club, not only from a sporting point of view (the Brazilian scored 37 goals in 64 games), but also from a commercial point of view. Soon enough, other soccer veterans launched into the NASL: Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, George Best and Johan Cruyff.

Although the NASL dissolved in 1984, other countries took up the idea of ​​raising the league’s status by signing high-profile players. Some of these leagues flourished and continued to develop local talent (Japan, Australia), while others failed (China). Now Saudi Arabia, which has colossal financial resources, has taken this path.

Related Materials


Benzema and other stars are already scoring in Saudi Arabia. There is another analogue of LCH.

However, in addition to attracting stars from Europe, the Saudis intend to organize a two-way traffic: according to Calciomercato, they are in negotiations with UEFA to attract the best clubs from Saudi Arabia to the European Champions League. We understand how viable this idea is and if Cristiano Ronaldo has a chance to play again in his favorite tournament.

In 2016, the Copa América was held in the United States and was marked by huge wins.

The globalization of football is advancing at an alarming rate, so any development cannot be ruled out. Especially when there is a lot of money at stake. In football there are options for cooperation between representatives of different confederations, but mainly at the level of national teams. The most famous and illustrative example is the participation of teams from other regions in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. In 2021 and 2023, Qatar competed with the Americans. The hosts of the 2022 World Cup became the second entrant in the tournament from the Asian region after South Korea (2000, 2002).

The CONCACAF Gold Cup isn’t always about soccer

The goalkeeper disappeared right during the game! Five Cuban soccer players defect to the US

Also in different years, Brazil (1996, 1998, 2003), Colombia (2000, 2003, 2005), Peru (2000), Ecuador (2002) and South Africa (2005) participated in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The invited teams never managed to become champions. The Brazilians (1996, 2003) and the Colombians (2000) were the closest to gold, but lost in the final. Qatar also made a big noise in 2021, having won bronze.

Another powerful collaboration in the region took place in 2016 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the oldest existing international soccer tournament, the America’s Cup. The main feature was that the competition was held in the US, and involved 10 CONMEBOL teams, and six other countries represented CONCACAF. Not surprisingly, the tournament turned out to be a record by a number of indicators. A memorable final in New Jersey between Chile and Argentina, in which Messi missed a penalty, drew 81,000 fans.

In 2016, Messi missed a penalty in the Copa América final, which was played in the United States.

Photo: Simon Bruty/Getty Images

Records were also set for total game attendance, US and worldwide television audience, and social and digital media engagement. The tournament was attended by 1.5 million fans, 350,000 more than the record number in the history of the Copa América. Despite the high demand for tickets, which cost more than $100, the average attendance was 46,000 people. The semifinal between the United States and Argentina in Houston was watched by 3.29 million viewers. Internationally, the tournament was broadcast in more than 160 countries, reaching more than 1.5 billion people.

A similar soccer party will return to the US in 2024. The Copa América was supposed to take place in Ecuador according to the rotation system, but in November 2022, the country’s government announced that it was not willing to to host the tournament. The Americans went all out to get the Cup again, on the eve of the 2026 World Cup at home, which, coupled with the addition of Messi, promises a huge capitalization. The main thing is that there shouldn’t be a scandal like the one in 2016, when the US Department of Justice revealed $110 million in bribes.

The European integration of Arab clubs is hampered by a number of factors

Holding a quick tournament of no more than a month is one thing, and moving from one confederation to another is a completely different and highly problematic story. In the 1990s, the winner of the Asian Cup – 1964 Israel went through this path, which, due to the aggravation of the conflict with the Arab countries, was registered with UEFA. Kazakhstan also survived the football zone change in the early 2000s. “The process took several years. We connect all resources, use the influence of friends and patrons. Ambassadors to Europe, businessmen, politicians, they all made a big effort to move to UEFA,” said Rakhat Aliyev, the son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s long-term leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, who took up this issue.

Kazakhstan was greatly helped by the transition to UEFA

The Russian coach works wonders for the Kazakhstan team. Will they go to Euro 2024?

Combining teams from different regions in a club-level tournament is much more difficult. Previously, this happened within the framework of the Intercontinental Cup, the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana – in 2006, the Mexican Pachuca even won the last tournament. Today, the main tournament of this type is the Club World Cup. It will also be accepted by the United States in 2025 in an updated format. The participants will be divided into eight groups of four teams, the first two will advance to the playoffs, just like in the World Cup between teams. It is planned that the competition will be held every four years, but in odd years, when there is neither a Euro nor a World Cup.

The main characteristic of international club tournaments is their transience, which allows clubs not to be left out of national and continental competitions for a long time. Largely for this reason, the integration of Saudi Arabian clubs into the Champions League and other European competitions appears to be a difficult task. It is said that Arabs can get a seat in a European tennis tournament where players receive a wild card, but it is very difficult to compare individual and team tournaments. Because tennis players participate in international competitions all year round, and for soccer players, national tournaments are the base.

Also, it’s hard to imagine that the Asian Football Federation (AFC) would let its top clubs go to another confederation. The Asians will be the first to sue the Saudis if they try to enter the European competition. The other side of the coin is the position of the European clubs, whose places could theoretically be taken by wealthy Arab teams. Especially in light of the forecasts for UEFA’s revenue to increase in the 2024/2025 season from the current 4,000 million euros to 4,800 million euros, which will be facilitated by the new format of the Champions League. That is, someone will not receive a profit that the Saudis are not particularly interested in; it is more important for them to promote their product outside the country.

Speaking of European competition

UEFA allowed clubs with the same ownership to participate in European competitions. They were given strict conditions.

UEFA dreams of entering the American market: the Saudis will only interfere with them

The idea of ​​integrating leading clubs from lower-ranked leagues into the higher leagues is not new. With similar regularity, Scottish Celtic and Rangers have been courting in the Premier League for the past two decades, but the matter has not progressed beyond rumours. The last time such a possibility was mentioned was in 2021, when the Premier League was considering a project to create a British Super League with an expansion of the division from 20 to 22 teams, and additional places could go to Glasgow clubs. The representatives of the Championship have already protested here: the admission of the Scots not only means a decrease in income from sponsors and sales of television rights, but also violates sports principles.

There is no doubt that the competition in the British Super League would exceed the highest standards of the Premier League, but then it would upset the already delicate balance of modern football. Without Celtic and Rangers, Scottish football will turn into a frank “swamp” – the UEFA leaders used this argument, among other things, to contain the European Super League.

Rumors about Celtic and Rangers integrating into the Premier League have been circulating for decades.

Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The idea of ​​inviting clubs from Saudi Arabia to the European Champions League on a sporting basis has another brake. UEFA highly values ​​the exclusivity of this product and reacts extremely painfully to any attempt to seize power. UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin remains furious over FIFA’s decision to attract (or rather force) Europe’s top clubs to participate in a modified Club World Cup format.

Given that UEFA intends to actively develop in the US market in the coming seasons and even host the Champions League final in the US, attracting Arab teams to European competitions is not only illogical, but would be a suicide. So don’t expect Cristiano Ronaldo to return to European football by any means.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

Most Popular

Recent Comments