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Pan-European Cups

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Fear of qualifying for the Europa League

Fear of qualifying for the Europa League is gripping Premier League clubs.  It's the one contest nobody wants to win.

Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs believes that the experiences of Manchester United and Liverpool in recent years prove it is more of a hindrance than a help.   'You have the opportunity to stay closer to the top four if you only have to focus on the Barclays Premier League and the cup,' he said.

The gap with the super elite gets wider

The gap between the super elite of European clubs and the next tier is getting wider.   Clubs like Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Southampton have enjoyed success through good management and smart player acquisitions, but sustaining that success is difficult.

Champions league money boost

Premier League clubs are already desperate to secure one of the Champions League places, for the prestige as much as for the additional income.  For Liverpool it could make the difference between a season that is viewed as successful and one that is not.

The financial rewards are going to increase considerably next season.  Appearance money from the group stage is going to increase by 50 per cent.

Financial fair play boosts the super clubs

Policy analysts know that one of the many causes of governance failure is that policies can have unintended effects.   So it has proved with Uefa's Financial Fair Play (FFP) scheme.

It has boosted the super clubs that form Europe's elite which is why they did not oppose the measure.  It is now more difficult for a benefactor to boost a club just outside the top level like Manchester City or Paris Saint Germain.   They have been penalised under the FFP regulations for daring to break into the cartel.

Could the Premier League lose a Champions League spot?

Winning a place in the Champions League is the real prize in the Premier League these days.  With Chelsea seemingly champions-elect, all the focus is on which teams will be able to qualify.  

The Europa League is not a consolation prize, but more of a punishment.   It involves a gruelling season of long trips to little known teams in obscure countries.   It has probably held Everton back this season. Southampton fans I know are dreading a trip to Kazakhstan.

What the Premiership is all about

The exit of Chelsea from the Champions League, and the poor prospects of Arsenal and Manchester City, provides another peg on which critics of the Premier League can hang one of their eloquent denunciations.  West Ham's income is poised to pass that of Inter Milan, but still Premier League teams under perform on the European stage.

David Conn and writers like him have a case to make, but sometimes I think they miss the point of the Premier League.   It is as much about creating a televised entertainment spectacle for global consumption as it is about football.

Uefa urged not to penalise wealthy benefactors

Uefa have been urged by Manchester City not to penalise wealthy benefactors under their financial fair play (FFP) rules.   The meeting with Uefa president Michel Platini was also attended by Paris Saint Germain who, along with City, have received the heaviest penalties so far under the FFP rules.

Liverpool may face FFP sanctions

Liverpool may pay a penalty for their return to the Champions League in the form of financial fair play sanctions.   They are expecting £7m in prize money next month, but the payment would be withheld if they are referred to Uefa's Club Financial Control Body.  

Clubs get over €1bn from European club competitions

Clubs taking part in the Champions League and Europa League in 2013-14 received €1.1bn from Uefa with 86 per cent of the money going to clubs taking part in the Champions League.

Performance bonuses were paid for every win or draw in the group stage (€1m per win and €0.5m per draw) and each knockout round reached, while funds from the market pool were divided according to the proportional value of the national television market.

Atlético not a model club

Atlético Madrid may look like Davids compared to the Goliaths of Real Madrid, but they have a complex financial history.   Uefa may well see them as far from being a model club given a record of financial recklessness and the regular use of third party signings, something Uefa would like to see stopped.

Their financial model is so complex that Singapore billionaire Peter Lim, who wanted to buy a club n Spain, took one look at Atlético and walked away.   Last week he bought Valencia.