Fi­nan­cial fair play can level the play­ing field

The Scotsman - - SCOTTISH PERSPECTIV­E -

It has been a thrilling week of foot­ball with the re­sult that both big Euro­pean fi­nals will be con­tested by teams from the English Premier­ship.

The big­gest win­ner is the Premier­ship it­self. Al­ready fab­u­lously wealthy, its sta­tus around the world will be fur­ther en­hanced by this un­prece­dented ad­ver­tise­ment for its su­pe­ri­or­ity.

The jux­ta­po­si­tion with mem­o­ries gen­er­ated by the re­cent deaths of two Lis­bon Lions is ex­treme.

Each team in th­ese fi­nals will be drawn from a League of Na­tions, con­firm­ing the power of money to at­tract the world’s best play­ers.

Scot­tish clubs have long watched the fi­nan­cial gap with big Euro­pean leagues grow to the point at which “level play­ing- field” com­pe­ti­tion be­came im­pos­si­ble.

Th­ese leagues showed lit­tle in­ter­est in the fact that clubs from smaller coun­tries with great tra­di­tions and sup­port were be­ing side­lined by the sheer power of money, mostly from tele­vi­sion rights.

Now the boot is mov­ing to­wards the other foot. In board­rooms from Madrid

to Mi­lan, the thought must dawn that maybe there is some­thing in this fi­nan­cial fair play thing af­ter all – be­cause the English Premier­ship is rac­ing so far ahead of the pack.

Six of the ten wealth­i­est clubs in Europe are in Eng­land. The two rich­est clubs in

the Europa League will con­test the fi­nal.

The Premier­ship’s global TV rights will soar even fur­ther on the back of this week’s events.

The logic of all that points to a greater spread of wealth through re­struc­tur­ing of Euro­pean foot­ball with less

re­gard for the strait­jacket of na­tional leagues. The more clubs that feel they have a vested in­ter­est in pro­mot­ing such an ap­proach, the bet­ter.

Therein may lie the op­por­tu­nity for Scot­land’s lead­ing clubs to as­pire once more to achiev­ing their po­ten­tial and ful­fill­ing Euro­pean dreams.

0 Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino and Hugo Lloris cel­e­brate Spurs’ qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal

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