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The Champions League’s Drama Is Value Savoring, and Saving


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“Your last column was needlessly equivocal about why the Bundesliga is so boring,” S.K. Gupta feels. “There is simply one reason and that’s the 50+1 rule. By precluding outside investment, nobody can challenge the establishment. If the Bundesliga desires to develop into a real sporting competition with some uncertainty concerning the final result, they have to make their clubs attractive to investors who would invest funds to construct a competitive team.”

There have been times, I’ll admit, when I actually have been tempted to return to the identical conclusion. The Bundesliga acting as Bayern Munich’s fief is, I believe, an issue for German soccer.

But I’m not convinced that breaking the bond between team and fans is the answer. I think that individual road results in the Premier League, where, as a substitute of 1 wealthy team, you find yourself with a cartel of 4 or 5 – 6, monopolizing not only the title but the entire other prizes, too. German fans cherish their culture. Change is needed, but not at any cost.

David Hunter is closer to my way of pondering. “You didn’t mention the apparent solution: a salary cap,” he wrote. “American football has one, and there are rarely routine winners season after season.” That is true, in fact, but there may be one giant hitch: a salary cap could only work if it was agreed to by clubs in every league in Europe, moderately than simply one. And that prospect is, unfortunately, an especially distant one.

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Finally, let’s return a few weeks. “If we, the fans, determine what matters in football, it’s value noting that the viewing public and teams’ owners have very different ideas of the concept of risk,” wrote Alex McMillan. “Fans cherish risk: It’s what makes winning anything value something. The owners of the wealthiest clubs detest it: It threatens their billion-dollar investment.”

That is, to me, the crux of the difficulty over soccer’s future. The sport thrives on risk. It’s the running of it and the taking of it that makes it appealing. But, yes, that’s diametrically against what owners want and — if we’re being kind — what sustainable businesses need. Almost every debate about where the sport goes, or what it must do, boils right down to that tension. The way it plays out will define what shape soccer takes.

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