American sports executive Charlie Stillitano caused controversy last month we he spoke about the Champions League being a closed tournament, open only to the biggest clubs in Europe. Stillitano got hammered in the press, but this week Inter Milan CEO Michael Bolingbroke spoke about a similar process where the big names could still enjoy the riches of the Champions League regardless of their league position.
Inter have not qualified for the Champions League tournament since 2012 and did not play in any European competition for the second time in three seasons this term.
With the likes of AC Milan, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all unlikely to qualify for the Champions League next season, Bolingbroke believes Uefa need the likes of them and Inter competing every year.
“The distribution of TV income here is based on performance, not just in the last year, but the last five and the last 50. There is a merit-based system.
“There are clubs who have not got to the competitions they think they need to. Many of these clubs have huge fan bases. That drives Uefa and drives revenues” Bolingbroke told BBC Sport.
“The question is: do you need to find a balance between that and having the clubs in the competition that have performed well in the last 12 months?
“The conversations we have had with Uefa indicate to me that they fully understand what the concerns are and are going to address them.”
“Inter is built on a unique heritage. we are probably one of the best 10 football teams around the world from the point of view of mark. I’d like to see Inter in a Deloitte ranking position that reflects its position in the brand list.”
It’s an interesting take by Bolingbroke. The magic of the Champions League has been built on the history of clubs like AC Milan and Liverpool. What Bolingbroke does not understand is that all clubs have ups and downs. No club is dominate for 10-15 straight years, especially in today’s game.
Rewarding the so-called big clubs for their past performance only minimizes the current domestic season. What is the incentive for Inter or AC Milan to improve next season if they are guaranteed Champions League places?
What do you think about Bolingbroke’s comment? Do you agree or disagree with them?