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Pan-European Cups

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Power grab by top European clubs

Uefa will guarantee more places for clubs from Europe's top football leagues in the Champions League, in a power shift towards the wealthiest teams.  The move, which follows threats from rich clubs to create a breakaway competition, will ensure more places for teams from Europe's largest television markets, but to the detriment of smaller nations.

China to the rescue of Italian football

Italy has long been seen as the European nation that represents style, and that was also true of Italian football.  However, that image has been tarnished by decaying infrastructure in Italian cities and corruption ridden public services.  There seems to be no viable political solution.

At one time left-wing academics praised the Italian state holding enterprises that had been left over from Mussolini.   Then they discovered the 'Third Italy' of networked small firms producing luxury goods, but even that aspect of the economy was not quite what it appeared to be.

China plans breakaway Champions League

China's richest man is feeding on dissatisfaction among top clubs that a club like Manchester United can be denied the riches and prestige of the Champions League while Leicester City are given a place.  It does, of course, have something to do with performance on the pitch rather than financial rankings.

Big plans for Bangor City

A Cheshire-based consortium that has taken over Bangor City has big plans for the North Wales club, They plan to pump in at least £100,000 a year as they seek to end the domination of the Welsh Premier Leage by The New Sants.   The real attraction is perhaps not the WPL title, but the chance of Champions League football.

Row over future of Champions League

Europe's top clubs are pushing for radical changes to the Champions League in order to secure more funds to offset the financial dominance of the Premier League.    

Clubs particularly in Italy and Spain are pushing for changes that would involve more matches between top teams.   They argue that this could be more lucrative in terms of commercial and media revenue.

The petrodollar derby

Tonight's Champions League game between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain is more than a clash between teams representing two major European cities.   It is also has a geopolitical dimension, built around Arab oil wealth.   It is Qatar versus Abu Dhabi, the al-Thani family versus the al-Nahyan family.

Dr Christopher Davison, a reader in Middle East Politics at Durham University, has described the acquisitions of City and PSG as part of 'soft power' strategies ('hard power' is generally associated with military might).

Champions League spot secure

England's fourth Champions League spot is secure for 2017-18 afterJuventus were defeated by Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.   England now has a lead of 3.97 coefficient points over Italy, although the longer term Italian challenge remains a concern.

Champions League revenue and the associated prestige is of vital importance to top clubs.

'Leicester don't matter' says breakaway boss

The man behind the idea of a breakaway European super league has argued that Leicester City do not matter in terms of the global popularity of football.  'What would Manchester United argue, did we create soccer or Leicester?', said Charlie Stillitano, chairman of Relevent Sports.

The 'big five' teams would make far more money if they were guaranteed entry to a revamped Champions League.   Clubs like Manchester United deserved a permanent place in the competition.

Discussions about changing FA Cup

The possibility of offering the fourth Champions League spot to the winner of the FA Cup (if they have not already qualified) is one topic being discussed between the Football Association and the Premier League as they look at the future of the competition.

An alternative suggestion is that there should be a play off between the FA Cup winner and the club placed fourth.  All this depends, of course, on the fourth slot being retained.

Cash incentives to do well in Europa League

Premier League clubs may be offered cash incentives to do as well as possible in the Europa League. The plan is one of a number of measures that have been discussed to ensure that the top flight does not lose its fourth slot in the Champions League to a resurgent Serie A.

Italy made up more than half their deficit to England in Uefa's coefficient table in 2015.   They could leap ahead next season leaving the Premier League with only three slots from 2018.