ESPN FC has broken the news that the Football Association and the Premier League are in talks to make wholesale changes in an attempt to improve English teams chances in the Champions League.
If you want to back an English team to win the Champions League, then your best bet is Man City at 12/1; Chelsea are 22/1, and Arsenal are 33/1. Man Utd couldn’t even get through the group stage. Only Chelsea (2011-12) and Man Utd (2007-08) have won the competition in the past decade.
Casting an eye over the English national team picture is even more depressing. The World Cup victory on home soil in 1966 ranks as the country’s only success and they are 12/1 to win the 2016 European Championships despite coming through their group stage with a 100% win rate.
So what’s going on?
It’s no secret that the Premier League is one of the toughest in the world both physically and environmentally. According to ESPN FC, the Football Association (FA) and Premier League are set to do something about it.
Days after the FA decided to knock £5 off the price of an FA Cup Final ticket, it appears weekend FA Cup matches may be heading the way of the Dodo. According to reports in ESPN FC and The Telegraph, the FA are in discussions with the Premier League to scrap replays and to move the games away from the weekends.
You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that the biggest clubs in the league aren’t interested in the most prestigious domestic cup competition in the world. Even the mid to lower Premier League teams field weakened sides in an attempt to keep players fresh for Premier League games.
The Capital One Cup is also a target for the hatchet men. According to reports, the two-legged semi-final could be reduced to a one-off occasion. I don’t think that’s going far enough. If a Premier League team competed in Europe and reached the final of both the FA and Capital One Cup (including replays), they would have had to play 16 games. The French (10) are the closest, followed by Spain (9), Germany (6) and Italy (5).
The proposals would reduce English clubs matches to 11, but they can go even further. The Premier league’s interest in the Capital One Cup is negligible. Axe it, or eliminate Premier League interest, and host it for lower league sides only.
It’s surprising to hear that the FA and Premier League are in talks to try and find a solution to this problem. But it shouldn’t be. We got a hint towards this possible future after FA vice-chairman, David Gill, said that FA Cup replays and the two-legged Capital One semi-finals may have to go, during 2022, after FIFA confirmed the Qatar World Cup would take place throughout the winter.
What’s your view?
How would you reduce Premier League team calendar?