Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughChampions League? Not really - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Champions League? Not really - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Champions League? Not really



The most coveted trophy in domestic football. The pinnacle of a players career. Messi, Ronaldo, Zidane, Best, Eusebio. All hold the coveted UEFA Champions League medals, so, what do you have to actually win to qualify for this “Champions League” exactly.


Despite the ironic name, you could theoretically finish third and fourth in your league, and win the UEFA Champions League the next season. No disrespect to teams like Aston Villa, Everton, and Tottenham, but all three have qualified to the play-offs  of this competition at least, despite picking up just one major trophy between them in 16 years.

We are lucky to have a very competitive league here in the Premier League, although first the League Cup, and now the FA Cup, are being increasingly left to rot by the big teams, as they focus on “more important” competitions.

The FA Cup has been running since 1871, longer than most football teams. The competition died a little bit to me, and most fans, when they introduced sponsorship to it. 123 years without one, but in 1994, they added sponsors to it, not allowing the name to change, but simply the logo, and a suffix to the end of the name, from 2011, it has been “The FA Cup.. with Budweiser” which is fitting, as it ties in well with the celebrations for the lucky winners.

The Football League cup has been spoilt a bit more, as since 1982 it has had seven names, ranging from the Milk Cup, to the newly crowned Capital One Cup as of next year. Bookies are not currently taking bets on double names for the cup, although The John Smiths GoCompareTheMeerkat with Sainsburys Cup, or The J.S.G.C.M.S Cup for short, can surely only be just around the corner.

The latter of the two cups has been the one more known for teams of lower league clubs, as the one to win, as many of the top competitors seem to have given up on it, and normally field a side made up of people from the local area, and with an average age of 12. It is a cup that has seen Cardiff, Birmingham City, Wigan, Tranmere, Leicester, Bolton, and Middlesborough reach the final in the last fifteen years.

Without denying these teams a once in a lifetime trip and memory, me and a close friend spoke, and proposed a change in the qualification system for the Champions League, which will both heighten the competitiveness for the domestic cups, as well as adding some validity to the name of the “Champions League”.

At present, the top three in the Premier League qualify directly for the Group Stages, whilst fourth place goes through the playoffs, but more often than not, will end up with the other teams, amongst Europeans elite.

I think by now, you will understand what we are proposing. Both first and second place from the English Premier League would qualify for the Group Stages automatically, as they do now, although the FA Cup winners would also bag that spot, formally of third place, whilst the Football League Cup would occupy the play-off berth, instead of fourth position in the League.

However, there are a few scenarios for qualification. Lets run through them.

Finish first and second, and you will obviously definitely qualify.
Finish third, and you will qualify, only if either first or second place also collects one of the two domestic cups. If the FA Cup is won, third will enter the group stages, if it is the League Cup that they win, you will enter via the Play Off Round.
Finish fourth, and you will only qualify should both domestic cups be won by either first or second place.

Got that? If not, here is a handy little diagram I drew up to explain it.

So. There it is, the master plan. Both conserving our historical cup competitions, as well as adding a lot more competitiveness for both the league and cups, as well as adding validity to the phrase “Champions League”

Your move UEFA.

By Brad Smith @beaverbrad and main proposed idea from James Williams @wilzaa7