Einstien’s fifth law: Football needs a crisis


A friend of mine who has lived on-and-off in the US watches their sports, but he is clear: the biggest US sport, American football, has vastly less significance to that society that football does across most of Europe.  In every city, town and village across Europe people gather in often miserable stadiums to bond with their neighbours and the generations gone before them.  Football defines us, in many cases more than our nationality does.

But look at US sports, even basketball and baseball, who are forever trying to compete with football, the money flowing through these industries is disproportionately high compared to the European game.  And it is not just the flow of money – it is the profits.

Without fear of relegation, or the need to perform in order to reach the profitable stages of competition, clubs can retain significant profits.  Sure, the players earn lots, but it is the shareholders who make the real money from sport in the US.

If you look at European football purely as an industry, you will come up with a plan that looks pretty much like the breakaway European Super League (ESL).  The ESL has the potential to propel the value of shares (when traded in quantity) in each of the proposed 15 permanent members (only 12 have so far committed, leaving space for Bayern Munich, PSG and Borussia Dortmund) by a factor of 10.  Your billion euro club is now worth 10 billion euros.  Do not for a second think you can appeal to their sense of tradition or decency.  I have never met anyone who has chosen not to become 10 times richer and none of these club owners are going to buck this trend.

Uefa has slowly eradicated meritocracy in the European game by conceding territory to these clubs for much of the last 20 years.  It was never going to satisfy them, all it did was rob European giants from small countries of a chance of competing at the highest level.

And while this proposal is for a midweek competition, be clear, Manchester United do not ever want to play Burnley on their weekends.  A game like this provides no commercial value, in fact, playing small English clubs denies them the opportunity cost of playing Real Madrid at the weekend.  A proposal to leave domestic football is in the post.

Sepp Blatter used to throw around that hoary old phrase “the football family”, which seemed empty until this week.  The response across the game has been universal, impressive and surprising.  The EPL, FA, Uefa, Fifa, national associations, the European Club Association and clubs across Europe were forthright in a combative response.  The football family found its voice.

The current landscape does not suit fans like me (or you, if you are reading this).  We lost an era of great clubs from small nations because our TV markets are not as valuable as other TV markets.  Titans became filler depending on which side of a border their home ground sat, it was that arbitrary.

Our ambitions are limited to hanging onto coattails of clubs who 20 years ago had scarcely won a domestic title; never mind won admiration and respect across Europe.  I want to see this changed and a return to meritocracy, where well-run clubs across the Continent can aspire to great things again.

The sovereign wealth and hedge funds that are behind this move will have run through every scenario.  This is a time to be a sports contract lawyer.  There will be money on the table to see them through some turbulence.  The rest of the football industry have legal and commercial options.  Fifa, Uefa, the ECA, the FAs and leagues of the ‘big five’ leagues must act in unison; a contractual obligation to block and ban would be a handy first step.  The game needs leadership of the Jules Rimet calibre.

It was Albert Einstien who said “every crisis in an opportunity”.  Most of our clubs need an opportunity to break free of the hegemony of these predatory clubs, so maybe Einstein’s fifth law would be ‘Football needs a crisis’.

Bring this decade’s long slide into the pockets of the hedge funds to an end.  I want a European Super League, but one based on merit, open to great and innovative clubs, that would inspire kids across the Continent to dream about winning the European Cup for their team the way I did once.

As an addendum, back in November 2004 CQN published a Plan for a European League.  The online version perished on our move away from Blogger, and I’ve not read it in 15 years, but here it is.


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    GLASGOWBHOY Deniabhoy – been pondering on new bikes for me and the bhoy – partly because of the explosion of cyclists on the street,






    No Mean City indeed. Who’s planting the mines? 😂



    Happy shopping! Worth noting that there’s a worldwide shortage of bikes and components at the moment. The factories can’t keep up with the covid-generated boom. On top of that, the Suez Canal blockage has set deliveries back by weeks in Europe.



    As far as rides go over here, I am sure there are plenty of great routes that can be done while avoiding too many climbs. I have a friend that took the ferry to Santander, then rode down to Denia over a few days.



    I must confess, most of what I do involves climbs, though at 80 kilos they don’t like me much 🙄


    I’ve been hosting groups and club training camps/cycling holidays here for 13-14 years. A typical week with a group is is 5-600 kms. Covid has, of course, killed our 2020 and 2021 peak seasons (spring). So the label of fat and unfit applies to me too at the moment. Hardly riding at all.


    The area around Denia northern Costa Blanca) is a terrific area for all kinds of riding of all abilities. It is also where pretty much every pro cycling team comes to train from December to February.


    Prior to covid, I enjoyed multistage events like the Haute Route Alps. That comprises 500 riders, going from Geneva to Nice. Approx 900 kms over 6 stages with 20,000 metres of climbing.


    The Pyreneen Coast to Coast started in Biaritz and finished near Perpignan. There were 15 of us and it was fully supported with vans carrying luggage.


    There are a few excellent tour companies that specialise in these kinds of trips.



    Apologies if I miss any follow up questions, I don’t always read back. Cheers

  2. God only knows how we are going to get out of this huge slump we find ourselves in . We don’t have the financial advantage we used to have , we need a clearout of players who don’t want to be at celtic Park , players we have on loan , and lots of players just not good enough to don the hoops . Add into that mix no manager, but in my opinion we still have the team in the soft seats who guided us into this position , and please don’t think the new ceo will guide us to better things if he is being groomed by lawell , and dont for one minute think he will depart the dripping roast , he will still be calling the shots ,the guy is power drunk . As for our absent landlord ,we all heard his glowing praise for a club that due to proven cheating should have been thrown out of football . Youve got what you wanted Desmond.

  3. TONTINE TIM on 20TH APRIL 2021 7:21 PM


    Saint Stivs, how often have you read me mention him.






    aye cap doffed for the knowledge.

  4. had a wee plook at SC.



    If anyone is double agent posting (just teasing) tell Mike In Toronto it was me that asked questions of PeterLatchfordsfatbellywave or whatever he is called.



    And I dont appreciate being called “a p67 acolyte”.



    he will be hearing from my own legal representative, Dan In Milan.

  5. FAIRHILL BHOY on 20TH APRIL 2021 8:24 PM


    SS – which one 🤷🏽‍♂️



    which one which one ?

  6. Uefa should ban them for 1 season from European competitions.


    ‘That’ll learn them’ -as they say in this part of the world

  7. TINYTIM on 20TH APRIL 2021 8:38 PM


    This ESL proposal is bully boy tactics to get more money out of UEFA.







    It’s failed spectacularly though. The threat has fallen apart within a matter of hours.

  8. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Uefa will give them a bigger slice of the pie. Win-win for all parties.

  9. Another win for Port Vale – that’s 7 wins and a draw in the last 8 games – promotion form far too late

  10. It seems UEFA has called the “super 12″s bluff and they blinked first.



    Now that it’s clear these clubs don’t have the clout they thought they had, maybe UEFA can ditch that daft Champions League reform too….

  11. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    How craven are the BBC?



    They tell us ‘Chelsea and City were not drivers of this plan, they were the last to sign and feared being left behind.’



    No doubt they’ll gradually evolve the narrative to point the finger at greedy foreign clubs.



    Indeed, the Beeb go on to tell us that at Chelsea ‘There was a fear that it could do reputational damage to the club and undermine some of its campaigning and community work’ .



    In the final insult to their readers intelligence they tell us ‘The decision was made earlier on Tuesday before protests started outside Stamford Bridge’.



    The article concludes with “analysis” from none other than Pat Nevin.



    Jesus wept.

  12. the blogger



    Listening to Chelsea – Brighton match on Radio 5, with Pat Nevin as co-commentator to Ally Bruce.


    Absolutely woeful! The commentary not the game, no idea where the ball is at any given time due to Nevin’s babble. Wee Pat spent the first half telling us about the financial problems of Europe’s top clubs, same guy who when he was Chief Executive at Motherwell, his first real job, led them all the way to administration.


    A wee chancer.

  13. Go tell the Spartim on

    I occasionally had the company of Nevins Dad at the Celtic games, he’d always regale the tale of the 7-1 game, like he’d just came back from it, a nicer man you couldn’t meet. As for Pat I think we can all make our own minds up, tries too hard, and fails, the be interesting or intellectual




    Of course Rangers died – a look at the new club’s Scottish Companies House registration number confirms.



    I use ‘old firm’ in inverted commas- – my view is clear – however the reality of this situation is easily camouflaged when there is a widespread alternative perception.



    I exonerate nothing from the Ibrox cheating years. Celtic’s whole existence, even on the periphery of European football, would be under threat in a de facto part-time league where the other member of the ‘big two’ was permanently missing. A league that would get a peanuts TV contract from BBC Scotland/STV. SKY’s deal depends on multiple ‘old firm’ games per season – if they go…so would SKY.



    That I submit is a matter if fact, not my preferred position.




  15. I hope UEFA show some sort of backbone and kick those still in, Right out – Likely what these Maniacs want to gather Supporters.



    It is the Peoples game.



    Pandemic crisis and opportunity. Uefa are Stinking of Globalism. Put something so unpalatable first of all, so the one after isnae so bad ( despite being horrendous). Truly sickened. As Hot Smoked says so much hypocrisy Touching Down.

  16. TIMMY7 – re cycling routes, endorse what GENE said.


    I did Camino from Seville to Santiago for my 50th.


    Relatively simple in early stages out of Seville (and most uphills have a downhill nearby) Further North it gets a bit chewy but I’d ridden into good fitness by then. Places like Caceres, Banos de Montemayor, Salamanca – unforgettable.


    For me, hills aren’t the cyclists main threat – it’s wind, which takes a bigger toll imo.


    Happy pedalling.

  17. Go tell the Spartim on

    All 6 English teams have wet the bed now


    Still think there should be some form of retribution

  18. A Polish family has just moved into the street. Seem liked a lovely family. Invited over for dinner tonight. Nazi scum. Has anyone ever met anyone Polish that isn’t a racist?

  19. The Super League thing was a load of crap. Bargaining chips for changes in the next round of UEFA’s so called “Champions League” strategy talks.

  20. Go tell the Spartim on

    The special one is in the running for the Celtic job



    In your super soar away Sun



    Bollocks to that

  21. SIONNAIGH on 20TH APRIL 2021 11:59 PM


    A Polish family has just moved into the street. Seem liked a lovely family. Invited over for dinner tonight. Nazi scum. Has anyone ever met anyone Polish that isn’t a racist?









    Have you ever met a racist that is not Polish?

  22. Timmy7


    cycle run


    Larne- Derru over coast rd


    Glenelg rd from ratagan are great.


    i was on mountain bike.



  23. PRESTONPANS BHOYS on 20TH APRIL 2021 10:13 PM


    George Floyd verdict in Chauvin guilty on all charges




    Thank God for that much. Dumb ass Yanks might look across the Pond and get their act together on race relations.


    I know, I know….





    3 Nazis burned to death in a car waving a Swastika and a Dixie flag. Petrol bombed. So far so good.

  25. PETEC on 20TH APRIL 2021 10:42 PM




    Dream on. Their warning shots have been fired. UEFA will buckle.