Cost Of Football Tickets In Mexico City For Football Game The Club World Cup Has Lost Its Purpose

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The Club World Cup Has Lost Its Purpose

The FIFA Club World Cup is no longer the right measure to determine the best club teams in the world.

European clubs (UEFA) have a huge money advantage over the rest of the world due to huge investments in European soccer over the last decade and can buy the best players which gives them a huge advantage over other confederations. Furthermore, the format of the competition is set in favor of UEFA and South America (Conmebol) which is unfair to other teams.

The problem is that the competition has failed to keep up with the changes in the game and thus has lost its relevance and purpose.

Purpose of the Competition

The tournament was launched in 2000 (when it absorbed its predecessor, the Intercontinental Cup) and was created as an annual competition to showcase the best local talent from the various confederations. The idea was that the tournament winners from each continent would compete against each other and the winner would be crowned the best club team in the world. This was the theory but in practice it turned out to be different.

In the past, the best non-European players pursued their careers from their home countries and were unknown to foreign audiences. The Club World Cup gave these players an opportunity to showcase their skills on a global stage and at the time there was parity between clubs in Europe and South America.

In the first three years of the competition, CONMEBOL teams won the trophy but after that European teams dominated and the balance of power shifted towards Europe.

David vs Goliath

European dominance began in the early part of the current century with UEFA’s massive investment in soccer at club level. The result is that today there is a huge income gap between European clubs and other confederations.

The winner of the European Champions League earns more money than any other continental competition. Real Madrid earned $70.1 million for winning the UEFA Champions League last season. By contrast, San Lorenzo earned $6.1 million for winning the Copa Libertadores (CONMEBOL), ES Seti earned $1.8 million for winning the African (CAF) Champions League, and in Asia Western Sydney Wanderers earned the same for beating Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal over two legs (YAHOO) Sports – Club World Cup still Why Struggle for Relevance?; Peter Staunton, 12 Dec 2014).

With so much money on hand, the best talent money can buy is in Europe’s major leagues, who are attracted by the lucrative contracts these leagues offer. This means Europe has its own talent and whatever the rest of the world has.

The biggest losers in the exodus of football talent to Europe are Brazil and Argentina, the main exporters of players, so Europe’s gain is South America’s loss.

Accordingly, every other team in the Club World Cup loses out compared to Europe’s Champions League holders. The tournament has evolved into a David vs. Goliath battle, represented by a world eleven in European clubs made up mostly of the best international players and minor players, with what’s left of their best players. Talents have been tapped by major UEFA clubs.

The current champions, Real Madrid, have a combination of some of the most expensive and best international players from Spain (Casillas and Sergio Ramos), France (Benzema and Varane), Portugal (Ronaldo and Pepe), Germany (Kroos), Brazil. (Marcelo), Colombia (Rodriquez), Wales (Bal) and Mexico (Chicharito). This gathering of players is not very representative of the local game in Spain. The club paid $367.8 million for three players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez. Only twelve clubs in the world have a squad of players whose market value exceeds the combined cost of these three.

Auckland City FC has been compared to one of its rivals at this year’s Club World Cup as a club of amateurs with full-time occupations outside of soccer.

A look at some of the past champions reveals an overwhelmingly exotic element in their squads. When Inter Milan (Italy) won the cup in 2010, only 5 players were Italian in their 23-man squad while the rest were mostly from South America. Television commentators also failed to adapt to the changes as they still referred to the Inter team as ‘Italians’.

Barcelona won the cup in 2011 and 10 of their 23-man squad were from abroad.

strange appearance

Another major problem with the tournament is that teams from UEFA and South America are given byes to the semi-finals, and some sides continue to play after being knocked out. This is done deliberately so that only the biggest clubs face each other in the finals. Only two teams from that continent have won so far and only one team from outside has made it to the finals, last year’s surprise finalist TP Mazembe, a Congolese side.

Given the money advantage enjoyed by UEFA and the odd format that currently exists, Club World Cup competitions can rarely be called the best and the winner cannot legitimately be called ‘the best in the world’ any more than previous winners. Intercontinental Cup which was limited to UEFA and Conmebol. The competition has lost its importance and is not very boastful. A few years ago I won a dance competition but the other contestants couldn’t dance, so was my victory something to brag about?

Competition needs to restore some parity. Brazil and Argentina have started raising wages in their domestic leagues to encourage their players to stay at home. This is a start but apart from that, FIFA needs to limit the number of foreign players available to each team to, say, two and change the format so that all competing teams play the same number of qualifying matches. Failing this, it is pointless to continue the competition in its current form.

Victor A. Dixon

23 December 2014

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