Gerard Pique has some views on what is wrong with the English game but he’s wrong for several reasons.
This year was the first time since 1996 that there were no English teams in the last eight of the Champions League, which led to various suggestions over what is wrong with English football.
England has always produced a very high ratio of Champions League sides that have gone all the way in the competition so the fact that they have been outplayed for once this season shouldn’t be a major concern.
Former Manchester United star and current Barcelona defender Gerard Pique seems to think that the problem lays at the heart of the way TV money is handled in England and that it should be more like the Spanish model.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the Spanish model is incredibly biased towards Barcelona and Real Madrid, with those sides receiving more from broadcasting than any other team in Spain.
That has allowed them to inject cash into the infrastructure of their clubs and it has enabled them to pay high fees for players, when they have needed to, in order to stay at the top of the game.
The way it works in England is a much fairer system, with Premier League sides all getting a fair chunk of the cash which comes in for the rights to broadcast English games around the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.
There is nothing wrong with that because the bigger English sides have more ways of making cash while the smaller teams can use their share of the TV cash to attempt to consolidate and build for their own futures.
“They seem to have gone from having three teams in the semis to now, none in the quarters. The Premier League gets punished in relation to La Liga as the television money is more evenly distributed in England,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
So the implication is that if the bigger sides in England are getting more of the TV money, they will be able to spend more on buying and retaining the best players in order to stay at the top of the English game.
However, there is still that monopolisation in England which has been created by the wealth that Manchester City and Chelsea have been able to enjoy, plus the sponsorship funds United generate, which is unrivalled against other clubs around the world.
It seems Pique is blowing everything out of proportion because it’s important to keep everything in context. This is a just a single season where this has happened and English teams will tool up again and go hard in the Champions League next year.
“Maybe it is a coaching situation. I don't know. There is another way of looking at it, every club has to look at their reality,” he added.
Now this is where Pique gets back some of the respectability he’s lost with his flawed views on money in the English game because it’s no fluke that Barcelona have won multiple European Cups over the last few years.
This has been enabled because of the difference in the way youngsters are taught about football in Spain and England, with every typical positive about Spanish football drilled into their youngsters at a young age.
That goes a long way to explain why Spanish sides have won the recent match ups between teams from La Liga and the Premier League but in terms of the basic way English football is run, teams will be more than happy to carry on getting into those various situations.
United have been focused on winning back their Premier League title, City have only been in the Champions League for the last two years, Chelsea changed managers for no apparent reason half way through the season and Arsenal have been restricted by debt in terms of what they can spend. It’s a one off, expect better next year.
What do you make of Pique’s comments?
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