All 20 Premier League clubs in new 256 Team Euro Competition

Florentino Perez is still intent on a breakaway super-league. The organisations website is still online, boasting the club logos; Manchester United, Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Tottenham (well not boasting Spurs!).

If not for the reaction of the supporters of English clubs, then this could have been in place this season. It destroyed the very principle of what we love about football and sport. The pyramid system that allows every club to succeed and to fail.

There are two driving forces behind it. Not personnel but factors. Firstly, and most importantly, clubs like Manchester United have in recent years, failed to qualify for the most prestigious European tournament. This is a real issue with sponsorship and hits the pockets of clubs that feel entitled to be regularly on the global stage. The super-league guarantees big money competition and matches every single season.

Too predictable?

The other issue is that the group stages of the Champions league feel like its predictable. The same clubs making it through to the last sixteen at the expense of the same clubs as last season. The Super-League was backed by JP Morgans and a guaranteed £2.6 billion a year prize pot.

However, I have solved all of UEFA’s problems. It isn’t complex, you will love it, everyone you know will love it and even the very top clubs will love it too. (I’m saying ‘love it’ with a Kevin Keegan accent, I hope that you are too!)

A new European Gold Cup, based very similarly to one many moons ago but vastly bigger. 256 teams. The top 20 teams from the top four leagues in Europe (The Premier League, La Liga, Serie A & Bundesliga).

A two legged, knock-out competition, from round one. They might not enjoy it but imagine a first leg draw of Brentford against Real Madrid over two legs! Or Bournemouth against Bayern Munich.

Cricket Scores

There may be some shit draws early on. Some cricket scores. However, in order for it to be a competition that can grow football all across Europe then every league in every country has to have at least two teams that qualify (apart from San Marino that have one). This way, leagues like the Welsh league will get revenue and could attract investment, knowing that a trip to the Nou Camp is a reality.

There wouldn’t be many ‘role-over legs’, but should Barcelona draw Connah’s Quay Nomads in the opening round, then their under 16s would get a decent run out in the away leg, it would be amazing for the Welsh league team and all would be fine.

The top 32 clubs would be seeded and so we’d expect to see them reach the later stages although, there will be tough games and upsets. Each round of matches will have some real crackers within it and there will be a focus on clubs in countries that we don’t usually get. 

The top four race will still be important because of seeding. Those that make the top four will be seeded and this will give the easiest route to the last 32. No seeded teams will face one another until that period.

It would take two more matches to win the competition. It currently takes 13 games to win the Champions League; this would be 15. Should Manchester United finish fifth, then not all is lost. They will not lose out on their sponsorship deals because they will still be in the competition. However, they will have a tougher route.

The Draw

Below is an example of how one section of the draw could look. There would be 8 similar sections. Juventus, Dortmund, PSG and Ajax are seeded and so are in bold. Two of these sides (PSG & Dortmund) made the last 16 of this year’s Champions league and the other 2 didn’t.

Asides from the seeds, this was ‘randomised’ into alphabetical order. I’ve predicted the results and who would go through. For the top sides in this, the first 6 matches that they play (3 home and away legs) should generate more interest than the group stages (which according to Perez are boring). The chances are, that by the time the first round of matches is done, there shouldn’t be many ‘easy’ games for anyone and there are some crackers here!

After this. The expected 32 teams would likely meet, which would follow with the last 16 and exactly as the current Champions League works. There would, no doubt, be some shocks and some teams that didn’t make the last 16 of this years tournament. 

The Bronze Cup

I haven’t finished there! That is just the beginning of the masterplan!

Every side that is knocked out of the Gold Cup, up to and including the semi-final will be placed into the Bronze Cup. This will essentially be a European Third placed medal, far more prestigious than the current Europa Cup. 

The Bronze cup will revolutionise football. It will become a totally European competition. An FA cup style competition on a scale never seen before.

For every country that a club has in the Gold Cup, there will be approximately two and a half times more clubs from that country in the Bronze Cup. So, as there are 20 clubs from England in the top competition, the next FIFTY clubs will be in the Bronze Cup.

The whole of the Championship, the whole of League One and two clubs from League Two would join similar clubs from France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Distribution of clubs

Apart from the top 5 European leagues, most countries would still only see their topflight clubs join the Bronze League. The exceptions are Portugal (7 non-topflight clubs), Russia (6), Belgium (4), Netherlands (2) Ukraine (6) and Croatia (2). The Welsh League would see two clubs join the top competition and then 5 join the Bronze Cup.

The reason that the Bronze Cup has its name is that it will be a proper third placed European Competition. With the exception of the two finalists of the top competition, every club that is knocked out of the Gold Cup will enter the Bronze Cup.

In total, there will be 1,629 matches in the Bronze Cup. Between both competitions there will be 2,134. Involving 896 teams.

The first round of the Gold Cup will start before the Bronze Cup and so the first 128 teams will join 640 others in round one. The 384 teams that progress will be joined by the next 64 teams to be knocked out of the European Cup and so on.

No seeding

This way, should Manchester United fail to be seeded in the competition and drew Real Madrid. Then one of those sides would be in the opening draw, alongside Swansea City, Lincoln City and Bala Town. The magic of the FA Cup recreated in Europe.

The first three rounds are to be over two legs. Then changing to a single match tie. Home draws, as the names come out of the hat. There is no seeding in the Bronze Cup.

As sides keep getting added to the tournament at each round. It isn’t as easy to view the draw as the Gold Cup. However, here is an example of how one section could look. The teams in red are the ones that have been eliminated from the Gold Cup.

Obviously, I have Swansea down to win the whole thing, but Championship sides would have a decent chance of getting quite far if the draw is kind. If it isn’t then we get a proper game against a bigger European club.

For teams like Everton and Brentford, they are unlikely to make the very latter stages of the Gold Cup. Yet, if they could get through a few rounds then they will enter this Bronze completion later and have a real chance of getting into the last 16 or 8.

How it works

It is tricky, but it works. For those of you that like things like this then this is the process. For those that don’t, then just trust that it works!

The 128 eliminated initially from the Gold Cup, are added to the 640 teams. These play in round one with half progressing (384 teams). In round 2, the 384 teams that won are joined by 64 teams eliminated from the gold cup. These play in round two, where 224 teams will progress and are joined by the 32 eliminated from the gold cup. These then play twice before any more teams are added. So the 256 teams drop to 128 in round 4 and then to 64 in round 5, at which stage they are joined by the next 16 eliminated from the Gold cup.

In the 6th round, these 80 teams drop to 40 teams before being joined by the next 8 teams eliminated from the Gold cup. In round 7, they then drop to 24 teams, that are joined by the next 4 eliminated from the Gold Cup to make 28. 14 teams progress to round 8, where they are joined by the two losing semi-finalists of the Gold Cup, which leaves 16 teams and then it’s simple.

Money, Money, Money – Sharing the Wealth

I’ve sorted it all out!

JP Morgans were committed to backing £2.6 billion a year for the Super-League. That was a pretty pathetic competition comparted to these big boys!

I think that we all agree that this, would surpass the interest of that idea by a country mile. However, I won’t get greedy. £2.6 billion will be enough for now, and so I’m working within that measly budget.

The distribution of wealth in football is always an issue. It is pretty much like our country. There is a big pie, that we all share, and the powerful clubs (people) take a massive slice and leave crumbs for the rest. Getting the right balance is tricky (in both cases).

The Bottom

Let’s start, for once, at the bottom. In the Gold cup, all clubs that are involved in round one will receive £1 million for the privilege. Should they progress, then they can expect £3 million for participating in round two and £5 million should they get to round 3 (the last 64).

The New Saints, have an annual turnover of just over £1 million. This would transform the very smallest clubs in the competition. Giving a huge incentive.

For sides like Brentford, then the prize money for getting to round three or four would be a small boost but the real draw for them would be extra sponsorship and being able to offer the likes of Ivan Tony European football.

Those sides knocked out of the Gold Cup at stage one would also get £300,000 for playing in round one of the Bronze Cup. All 768 sides, including every team in League One would receive this. Should they progress then £400,000 awaits them in round two and £500,000 in round three.

Again, this is a real boost for clubs that need it and would allow clubs in smaller nations to invest for the future.

Top clubs

The winner of the Gold Cup (in total) will receive £101 million. The Runner-Up £76 million. The semi-finalists £51 million and Quarter Finalists £36 million. *the Semi-finalists and Quarter finalists will also get the chance to earn £22 million and £25 million respectively should they go on to win the Bronze Cup.

This is all comparable with the current Champions League. If you make the last 32 of the Gold Cup, then you would take home approximately what you would have, should you have made the Group Stages and picked up a win or two.

So, for the top-clubs, its not particularly different, assuming that they succeed. Obviously if they are knocked out early on, then they haven’t got the guaranteed income of the group stage. But that my friend, is football, and how it should be!

Bronze Cup

The Bronze Cup is tricky because there are so many teams in it. As I said above, there is £300,000 for round one, £400,000 for round two and £500,000 for round three. These three rounds alone, cost over half a billion pounds. Yet, these sums of money will be every bit as important to some of the clubs involved, as the 10s of millions of pounds for the elite clubs.

Round Four becomes one-off matches. There is £750,000 for participating here, £1 million in round five, £2 million round 6. £2.75 million round 7 and £3.75 million for round 8. So, if a side got to the last 16 (round 8) then they would take £11.45 million. To win the whole competition from round one, a club would take home, just shy of £32 million.

Genuine Third Place

The Bronze Cup is a proper competition. The likelihood is that it would be won by a Manchester City, Liverpool, PSG type club. One that didn’t make the final of the Gold Cup. In some ways, it’s a shame. The likes of West Ham, have a real chance of winning the Europa Conference League as things stand. However, if you asked a supporter from League One or Two, whether they would rather win the EFL Trophy or reach the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup then I’m pretty sure they’d take a 2-1 home loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup over a 2-1 FA Trophy final win over Oldham.

The same here. This year, West Ham could beat Basel to win the Europa Trophy; which would be great. However, would they prefer to face PSG at home in the Quarter Final of the Bronze Cup? A chance to officially be the third best team in Europe? I reckon so!

With essentially two lives, every Premier league Club would have a decent chance of getting to the last 32 or 16 of the Bronze Cup. The money is helpful, but the profile is even more so.

The Swans, as we are now, would get a realistic chance of getting through a couple of rounds, depending on the draw. As fans, we know that the money isn’t the real draw of this. Just imagine it; the draw, the trips away, the Dutch away travel on Wind Street…. And with football, as we all know, there is always that fairy-tale! 

I told you that you’d love it!

The Finer Details

I know you love it, but you have a couple of slight concerns with the proposal and so here you are. Problems solved.

Firstly, fixture schedule.  The first three rounds of the Gold Cup are played at the same time as the current Group Stages of the Champions League (September, October, November). No change. The Bronze Cup play a round later. So, they only manage two rounds before Christmas (October & November).

In February, the Bronze Cup plays two rounds of matches, the latter round with no new teams from the Gold cup. The Gold Cup plays the last 32. There are an extra 2 fixtures in March for the Gold Cup, compared to the Champions League: with the semi-final in early April. Before a rest until June. The Bronze Cup then plays last 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals in late April and May (all one-off games, don’t worry). Before both Finals are in June (as with the Champions League). Bronze Cup First, then the Gold a week later. Could even do same day! That would be class!! It works. Trust me!

Changing places

You are right to suggest that the 19th best side in Turkey are better than the Two best sides in League Two. It simply isn’t a fair distribution of clubs in countries. Each leagues performance would be monitored in each competition. So, should the lower Turkish sides perform better than the lower English then it will be altered. Similarly with all leagues. Although, it is important to keep some teams from each league to keep it as a properly open European competition.

I know that Russia is banned right now. I’ve included them for this but if they are still banned then places can be added elsewhere.

“The ‘top’ clubs and the ‘small clubs’ are financially looked after, but like the UK – there is a ‘squeezed middle!” Again, you are correct. The Premier League Clubs that don’t make the late stages of the competition won’t see huge amounts of money in comparison with their Premier League deal. However, being on that stage and being able to keep hold of their players will make this a real game-changer for them too.

Apart from that, its perfect yeah?