The Champions League group fixtures were decided earlier this week and Inter was handed the cruelest draw of anyone in the lottery by ending up in the same group as defending champs Barca. In fact when the announcement was made at the ceremony, groans quickly filled the room as club officials from all around the world whispered their fears of ending up in Group F.
And with one little soccer lottery ball sitting on the top of a rotating pile, the fate of billion dollar clubs hangs in the balance. And this dramatic style of selection has to be admired by fans of the game or even by fans of game shows all around the world.
Although the system, much like the NBA lottery, does have its obvious flaws (just ask Inter or Barca), it makes the selection portion of the tournament exciting to watch. It is true that the lottery blindly decides the group tables not taking into account important aspects like strength of squad or league that they played in, but a blind draw also gives fans of the game a chance to enjoy the sheer luck (or hope) factor that exists in a huge tournament.
The lottery may be flawed, but it is still a great spectacle. Cylinders full of miniature soccer balls await their unkown fate as a beautiful hostess ushers the cylinder to the main stage. Award winning footballers cautiously make the random selection, a grave man opens up the ball and belts out the result, and murmurs fill the room as owners, coaches, and players celebrate and frown upon their discovery.
The lottery may not be perfect in theory, but it adds an extra dimension of drama into the biggest tournament in the world.
Plus it beats the BCS System we have here in the states for College Football.