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#141 [url]

Dec 21 16 9:00 PM

Remarkably, the match was not available (legally) on TV in the UK.

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#143 [url]

Dec 22 16 10:31 AM

Look what I've fished out from my personal archive. An interesting report about the very first edition of the Club World Cup (Brazil 2000). The only time in which a European club did not reach the final.


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Source: the French magazine Onze Mondial 133, February 2000.

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#144 [url]

Dec 23 16 8:52 PM

nfm24 wrote:
Remarkably, the match was not available (legally) on TV in the UK.
It's not been for years, follows a pattern where a free-to-air channel will pick it up in a heartbeat if an English club are involved, otherwise the broadcasting rights are picked up by a subscription sports channel if FIFA are lucky, and in the last few seasons this hasn't happened. Funny thing is that the BBC and several newspaper websites all did live text coverage of the final last week, yet any game given that treatment usually is available to watch (legally) somewhere at least.

Based on that earlier thing I mentioned about FIFA's World Cup revenue being over 98% in their total income, you'd think that at least someone like Sky (who as of a check right now are showing the same darts coverage on 2 of their 6 live sport channels) or BT (who have a line-up of football coverage that includes the FFA Cup in Australia) would have the space on their channels, the funds, and the negotiating skills to get a good deal on 8 games of decent-enough filler for their schedules, and given Sky's tendency to over-hype things they have rights to I'm sure they could turn the Club World Cup into something 'worth watching'. After all, if they can convince people to bet on the number of corners in Burnley vs Swansea...

Same with the continental champions league finals - if it's not European (or at a stretch South American) then they don't want to know, you'd think they could get a pretty decent deal even if it was just the later rounds of the African Champions League or something, and the Australian / American coverage proves that these channels are willing to put live football on at unconventional hours, surely it's worth it just so they can whip out a longer list of all the rights they have...

Last Edited By: mattsanger92 Dec 23 16 10:47 PM. Edited 2 times.

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#145 [url]

Jan 4 17 8:27 PM

So to follow through on my post here, thought I'd give FIFA a fair chance at their proposal and speculate a few of the paths they might take in expanding the Club World Cup. This is based on the idea that there won't be any 'historical merit' or Blobfish Cup-style shenannigans when it comes to the participating clubs, only achievers (and the odd wildcard).

Option 1 (every 4 seasons, 32 clubs):

It seems to be implied from the reports that the competition would be played in the summer every 4 years, stepping on international football's territory too much for my liking but probably the cleanest as to how the teams could be chosen. A fair system would have the following clubs qualify:

  • Winners of all primary continental cups and host nation's league over the previous 4 seasons (7 x 4 = 28)
  • All winners of the 4 secondary continental cups (all except North America & Oceania) over the 4 seasons enter some sort of play-off that produces 2 qualifiers (2)
  • Wildcard/lottery team (a nice sob story or something) (1)
  • Defending CWC champions (1)
  • Wildcard and defending champion slots could be replaced by 2 more secondary winners
  • In the event of duplicate winners (a.k.a. 'Auckland City'), places revert to the best unqualified club in that season's competition, or just add to the secondary winners and/or wildcard numbers to fill the gap

Option 2 (every season, 16 clubs):

If they really wanted to chase that dollar, then the cup would be held every summer, maybe pre-season for scheduling purposes. To do this, 16 teams would be more manageable:
  • Winners of all primary continental cups and host nation's league and defending CWC champions (8, all seeded)
  • Winners of all secondary continental cups (4)
  • Winners of host nation's cup competition (1)
  • Wildcard club from host nation (1)
  • General wildcard clubs (2)

Option 3 (every season, 32 clubs):

A Club World Cup every season would just about stretch to 16 teams if we want to keep the qualification restrictions relatively strict, but Mr Infantino notices the fact that there will probably only be a maximum of 4 or 5 'big clubs' in any given season. Can't be having that, can we?
  • All of option 2's clubs (16, 8 champions still seeded)
  • All runners-up to the seeded clubs' respective trophies (8)
  • All semi-finalists of Europe, South America, and previous season's CWC (6)
  • More wildcards (2)

Option 4 (every season, 8 clubs):

Just take the 8 champion clubs listed in option 2 and do a straight open knock-out in the current calendar slot. One simple change and nothing too drastic, everyone wins except maybe FIFA's bank balance.

Last Edited By: mattsanger92 Jan 4 17 8:31 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#146 [url]

Jan 4 17 9:10 PM

I don't think there should be wildcards.

Another option could be just to allow the winners of the other continental cups to join in the Champions League knockout stage, and make that the World Club championship.

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#147 [url]

Jan 5 17 10:34 PM

The wildcards are more to fill the numbers, was just trying to test how they could feasibly fit as many champions and/or achievers into the competition without it losing the whole merit-based competition, obviously this number is unlikely to hit 16 or 32 exactly. Besides, if they're going for the whole neutral ground thing, then who wouldn't want to see The Dog & Duck FC live the dream and give it a go?

But with the other option you mention, kind of negates that whole 'FIFA making money' reason completely smiley: wink. The more clubs there are, the more chance that FIFA choose to go down the route of those pre-season invitationals where clubs are picked on reputation and shirt sale ability. Best just go with my 8-club format for which I expect a cheque from Mr Infantino as soon as he sees the sense in it...

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#148 [url]

Jan 6 17 9:47 PM

mattsanger92 wrote:
who wouldn't want to see The Dog & Duck FC live the dream and give it a go?
How far down do the wildcards go?!  Even in the FA Cup the pub teams have to play preliminary rounds to get a chance to face the mighty Bradford.

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#149 [url]

Jan 7 17 12:25 PM

nfm24 wrote:
How far down do the wildcards go?!  Even in the FA Cup the pub teams have to play preliminary rounds to get a chance to face the mighty Bradford.
ALL THE WILDCARDS! As a 'charity' kind of gesture or some outright lottery the idea would be that any club in the world can enter, anyone can have a millionth of a percent chance of winning. In the lottery sense, FIFA could probably charge a small fee for the tickets and make more than what they would have made from just inviting PSG or something. Are lotteries legal in Switzerland? Apparently yes, my cheque please Mr Infantino...

Ironically enough the FA Cup doesn't even allow that it seems, only as far down as 10th tier (when England officially has 24 22 tiers), I know a lot of those clubs are reserve teams but for a competition that prides itself on being open (they seem to be doing a much better job of that part across the channel), surely a gesture like having an extra-extra preliminary round or letting the FA Sunday Cup winners into the next season's FA Cup is an easy way to fulfil this (and pad out the inevitable "x clubs entered back in August, y games have been played since" line used when the final is about to kick off).

My mindset on this is mainly that all clubs should be able to have that thread that links them to the Club World Cup, that millionth of a percent chance rather than none at all. Besides, surely New Salamis would have done a better job than West Ham last night...

Last Edited By: mattsanger92 Jan 7 17 12:30 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#150 [url]

Jan 7 17 8:08 PM

Not every club in England has a chance of winning the Premier League (in a given season), so why should they have a shot at the CWC ?

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#151 [url]

Jan 8 17 12:36 PM

I think it's more the theory that a 10th-tier English club, for example, can theoretically become world champions without any league promotions, as unlikely as it is they have a path of FA Cup > Europa League > Champions League > CWC that can be completed in less than four seasons, rather than going through the leagues to get there in a minimum of 12 seasons.

If that option is a possibility then they should really have a way for someone like New Salamis to be rewarded for their success* with a shot at the next level. Those competitions mentioned above are all cups that don't require membership of a top-flight league (although until Leicester City next season that theory hasn't been challenged for the final two), so it would make sense if the CWC had a way to work down to all levels of each country's league system.

What it really boils down to is consistency, the lowest club in France or Montenegro or Liechtenstein is able to trace that 'quick' path to becoming world champions, yet in many other countries there's some arbitrary cut-off on the national cup competition (or no cup at all). Canada sticks out as a big example, their national cup is tiny in terms of participation (limited only to the few American 'franchise' clubs), when they could easily add a place or two for their lower cup winners then promote it as the cup being 'more inclusive' and other such buzzwords.

* - The definition of 'success' in this instance can be expanded to also mean the winners of the hypothetical FIFA Club Lottery or other such ventures (call me smiley: wink).

Last Edited By: mattsanger92 Jan 8 17 12:45 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#152 [url]

Jan 8 17 4:05 PM

I think your idea that the CWC should be open to any club at any level in any country would be fair enough if it is viewed as an international Challenge Cup (like the FA Cup) with knockout over many rounds, and minnows being drawn against the big boys. In that sense it would be more like the old European Cup Winners' Cup, which in principle any club in Europe could win within a two season extended cup run (winning their own domestic cup along the way, but without having to then win the Europa League also). But instead of confinement to Europe, the other continents would get involved too, or perhaps that would be in the third season.

Given that most countries have a national challenge cup (open to all levels), to me it doesn't make sense also to have an international challenge cup open to all the same teams at all levels in all countries, because the national one is then sort of redundant. The international part should be an extension for the national winners (like the ECWC was).

Currently the CWC is not associated with national cups but with national leagues, really just a dessert for the Champions' League. Membership of a top-level league is required at least within the past two seasons, and lower level clubs have to get promoted successively to become involved in the current CWC. It wouldn't be consistent to bypass this by allowing low-level clubs a direct route to the current CWC, when the other non-wildcard qualifiers have had to win leagues to get there. It's mixing up the two ideas, though I suppose the difference is just in the decision about the definition of "champion", basically the old "would you rather win the league or the cup" debate.

Maybe the CWC would have a better future as a Cup Winners' Cup (they can keep the acronym) and it would revitalise domestic cups which are fading in prestige, becoming just prelims for the Europa League.

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#153 [url]

Jan 8 17 4:06 PM

By the way your FIFA Club Lottery (with honest intentions on your part, I'm sure) would no doubt very quickly turn into selling berths to the highest bidder...

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#154 [url]

Jan 8 17 4:13 PM

To summarize my previous waffle, currently the possible routes are:

Pub team > promotion (N times) > win Premier League > win Champions' League > win FIFA club world cup
or
Pub team > win FA Cup > win Europa League > win Champions' League > win FIFA club world cup

and instead I propose

Pub team > win FA cup > win International Cup Winners' Cup
or
Pub team > win FA cup > win European Cup Winners' Cup > win International Cup Winners' Cup

Extension by analogy for other continents. I take your point that the English FA Cup isn't truly open to every level of club, but logistically there probably has to be some sort of cut-off in countries with many thousands of teams as if would just take too many weeks to run otherwise (more than one season, possibly).

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#155 [url]

Jan 8 17 5:16 PM

nfm24 wrote:
By the way your FIFA Club Lottery (with honest intentions on your part, I'm sure) would no doubt very quickly turn into selling berths to the highest bidder...
Honest intentions smiley: laugh... they're lucky I'd only be asking for 10%.

I think there's something in that though, if they set clear groundrules and sent said rules for approval with their independent ethics guys (if they still exist)... set amount per ticket at 1 per club, winners get a CWC wildcard, and various runners-up get something from the huge range of things FIFA could offer, right down to the unwanted t-shirts.

At a lower level that sort of thing is definitely practiced (different sport but my local ice hockey team have a 50/50 raffle, half of all ticket sales go to the winning ticketholder, other half kept by the club), if there's a defined purpose of 'supporting football development' with the profits and such and if FIFA stick to it then I can't see any problem. Other than of course the 'ifs', and the fact that people would criticise FIFA if they built an orphanage because narrative... I agree though that they'd have to be kept on-watch in case they sneak in a rule change after a few seasons that benefits PSG or a Chinese club...

Having said that though the outright auctioning of spare places could be an interesting development, just to see which club is the most shameless and the lengths they'll go to get that place. If Sky Sports cared about the CWC then they could dedicate an entire day's coverage to the auction each year like with Premier League transfer deadlines, bemoaning the English clubs for not mindlessly spending enough to win. Although I would expect Manchester United to do quite well in this contest, any club that gets rid of a player for free then buys him back 4 years later for £90m, then acts as though it's an achievement, clearly has lost all concept of the value of money.

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#156 [url]

Jan 8 17 6:00 PM

nfm24 wrote:
I take your point that the English FA Cup isn't truly open to every level of club, but logistically there probably has to be some sort of cut-off in countries with many thousands of teams as if would just take too many weeks to run otherwise (more than one season, possibly).
I get that, but again the French already lead the way, this season's cup started in March last season. Probably take it a bit too far as any club somehow in contention at the business end could be simultaneously in two different seasons of Coupe de France football, but a condensed version of that (letting winners or finalists of minor cups in) seems fair and pretty trouble-free. Something between the French and German models I reckon.

For the Cup Winners' Cup, the original was a bit before my time, but looking into the history I like the idea, a revival would be interesting but it would have to face the same problems that made UEFA kill it before, only this time multiplied due to media narrative. But if they stuck a place (or four) in the Champions League and FIFA Cup Winner's Cup at the end of it (and a place in the Club World Cup for the winners of that to complete the chain), and obviously redistributed prize money they could make it work easily. Then leave the Europa League as the competitive playground of 'not-quite Champions League clubs and League Cup winners' that it seems to want to be...

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#157 [url]

Jan 8 17 8:47 PM

I was thinking more that FIFA could use an International Cup Winners' Cup as a way to try to counter the domination of UEFA's Champions' League.

The problem FIFA have at the moment is that they don't have a way to make their World Club Cup anything more than an afterthought to the Champions' League, because the winners of the latter qualify for the former, and are basically expected to yawn their way to the world title too (if the final is not even televised in major European countries, it is beyond salvation as it is). UEFA also thus have the ace cards to manipulate the calendar and format etc to suit the big European clubs, thus FIFA therefore can't cash in on the club game in the way they would like. FIFA can't institute a rival competition under the current arrangement which needs the CL winners as the key entrant, but does not give access to multiple big European clubs simultaneously.

But converting the world club cup to a true Cup Winners' Cup would give FIFA a way to bypass their Champions' League dependency. The new World CWC would not be just an add on for the CL winners (since winning the CL would not constitute qualification for the WCWC), but would instead be a separate path for teams to win a major international title. Real Madrid (or whoever) would have to win their domestic cup to qualify for the WCWC, regardless of how well/badly they did in the league or CL. FIFA's CWC would be open only to the national cup winner of each FIFA member, so FIFA would then have maybe 5 to 10 "big" European clubs involved in their tournament instead of just one. I'm sure later they would then allow the runners' up of "big" countries to also enter (following UEFA's expanded CL) and voila, a genuine FIFA-run rival to the CL.

Also, you wouldn't have the problem the old ECWC had in the late 90s, i.e. that the national cup winners had very often already qualified for the CL which superseded it... in the new variant, any double-winning clubs would be able to enter both.

The remaining question is then, do you still need an intercontinental league winners cup (which is the current world club cup, effectively) as well?

I don't actually want to see all this happen, but I was trying to look at it from a FIFA perspective trying to turn their own club tournament into something comparable to the CL. All these acronyms is making this seem a bit like boxing.

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#158 [url]

Jan 9 17 10:12 PM

Good point.

Would definitely be interesting, if nothing else would encourage the countries that don't run a national cup to do so, although to avoid pull-outs they might end up needing to regionalise the early rounds. If I can get my copy of Football Manager working again I might try running a simulation...

For whether a Club World Cup could still operate, I'd say in it's current format yes, FIFA's goal in these club competitions is of course to make money and the best way to do that is to keep the deck stacked rather than gamble purely on their new plaything. Plus if the Cup Winners Cup became more prominent, it could reshuffle the purpose of the Champions League / Europa League and equivalents to be more league-oriented, by extension the Club World Cup would get that pure focus too. Only issue I'd see is the usual suspects moaning about fixture congestion, but I remain convinced that same clubs would run a full European Super League schedule alongside their regular season if enough cash was waved in their face to do so.

They could even top off the transformation and beat boxing with a FIFA Super Cup for the title of 'champion of champions' (I have family members who watch those beauty pageant reality shows where the winner in each episode wins the title of 'ultimate grand supreme', so it takes a lot to surprise me in the OTT honours department).

And acronyms can be useful, hate having to type Champions League whenever I want to write Champions League.

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#159 [url]

Jan 10 17 2:43 PM

On the point about FIFA wanting to make money - it is interesting that they have consistently tried to keep milking the World Cup for more dollars, but haven't made any coherent attempt to do something with their club tournament. At some point someone at FIFA will realise there is a limit to how much can be made from a tournament which runs for one month every four years, and maybe it would be better to work on improving the returns from their annual event.

I've never really understood clubs moaning about fixture congestion. They don't have to enter if they don't want to play, and the coaches should adjust the intensity of his tactics accordingly. Football should be about more than just physical fitness anyway. It's a bit like a small business accepting a big contract to sell its products, and then complaining "hey, you're making us work all the time!"

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#160 [url]

Jan 10 17 7:28 PM

nfm24 wrote:
On the point about FIFA wanting to make money - it is interesting that they have consistently tried to keep milking the World Cup for more dollars, but haven't made any coherent attempt to do something with their club tournament. At some point someone at FIFA will realise there is a limit to how much can be made from a tournament which runs for one month every four years, and maybe it would be better to work on improving the returns from their annual event.

I've never really understood clubs moaning about fixture congestion. They don't have to enter if they don't want to play, and the coaches should adjust the intensity of his tactics accordingly. Football should be about more than just physical fitness anyway. It's a bit like a small business accepting a big contract to sell its products, and then complaining "hey, you're making us work all the time!"
I'd say the fixture congestion thing is solvable at big club level by sticking their arm in that massive barrel of reserve/youth players they have made huge investments in, must be hundereds in there.

I wasn't following football at the time of that Manchester United's FA Cup / Club World Cup debate, but I don't see why they couldn't have just played the FA Cup game with the players/coaches that didn't travel, and on top of that they were only gone for a week, surely they could have managed or The FA could have offered a less controversial solution (like letting them play on a replay date and the tie be settled on the night), is the point I'm making.

And of course I can't not mention the example of non-league clubs, at some levels they play more games than their high-quality counterparts, and in extreme cases of postponments / cup runs I've seen stories of them playing 5 games in 5 days at the tail-end of the season, not to mention the smaller squads and the day jobs the players often have, while big club will moan at the prospect of 2 games in 5 days...

For your FIFA making money point, yes, the Champions League is the example of how a club competition can become a financial behemoth and having worked with it for so long Infantino probably realises that more than anyone, which is why earlier with my qualification theories I was suggesting the expanded cup could be a yearly summer event rather than a 4-year run as seems to be implied. Even though that could have a World Cup-style 'event appeal', a key reason for the CL's financial success is regularity, so something running throughout the regular season like a Cup Winners Cup could be FIFA's ticket.

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