A group of Russian and Ukrainian clubs hoping to form a joint championship have formed an organising committee and have invited top flight clubs in both countries to a meeting in Moscow on 18th of February to formalise arrangements.
The invitation letter states, “The main goal of our organization is the development of club, national and European football”
“In order to bring football to a new level, we propose to combine multiple national championships in one tournament. Initially Ukraine and Russia will be involved but in order to develop the strength of our game, the league could be extended to all former-Soviet countries.
“We are convinced that this new championship will be a model for other territories; this integration process is the future of football.
“This initiative will create healthy competition, increase entertainment game and increasing revenues from television broadcasts and advertising – just some of the benefits of unification.
“All of this will allow individual clubs to benefit as well as national teams, who will gain from players working in a higher standard of league. This is perhaps a unique case in sport where all participants are able to win.
Soviet Sport spoke to several Russian teams who confirmed they will attend. Sergei Palkin, the chief executive of Shakhtar Donetsk, was cautious, suggesting Ukrainian clubs and the Federation need to act with unity, “I hope this meeting takes place but only after Ukrainian clubs have chosen a common position.
“Then we can decide who should attend. The Football Federation of Ukraine need to be active, they can unite clubs and deal with the proposal appropriately.”
Note their points:
“Main goal… development of club, national and European football”.
“Bring football to a new level”.
“Develop the strength of our game”.
“This integration process is the future of football”.
“This will allow individual clubs to benefit as well as national teams”.
“Create healthy competition, increase entertainment game and increasing revenues from television broadcasts and advertising”.
Amid all the talk about reorganising our game has anyone had the clarity of vision to articulate the above aspirations? Having lived with threats from “the big five” leagues for long enough other demographically-challenged countries are putting plans in place to allow their clubs a sporting chance. It will soon be “the big six” and thereafter, who knows?
Why on earth are we worried about the number of lower divisions we have? Regionalise or wither on the vine – and do your best to ignore any muppet who suggests taking legal action because he got his sums wrong. The only change worth having will be consensual and will benefit all in our game.