G14 to expand in order to take on Platini and UEFA

The 18 clubs comprising the high-powered, highly influential, filthy rich and extremely pompous and self-involved G14 plan to expand their group in order to create a ‘representative lobby group’ that can challenge the madness that Platini is aiming to inflict on Europe.

G14 is principally opposed to Platini’s proposal to revamp European competitions, although their major strife is with the idea of taking away the qualifying spot given to the 4th placed team in the league and giving that to domestic Cup winners. Apart from the fact that it just points to a ‘cover our asses’ strategy (4th place allows many of the G14 an easy entry into the Champions League even if their season is a relative disaster), I think the real reason behind this opposition is that once these basic changes are implemented, Platini will have the social and political mandate to push through even greater changes in European football, and the G14 fear that wage ceilings and restrictions on TV rights money could be next on Platini’s agenda.

In light of those views, opposing Platini right now makes sense – if he’s successful in pushing his proposal through by November, he would not only have sidelined the G14 for being ‘elitist’ and therefore irrelevant, but he would also find it easier to push through further changes in the future.

The G14 are aiming to expand to around 50 members by the end of the year as well as to adapt a new name and constitution. While they do that, they are also working closely with the EPFL (European Professional Football Leagues) to present an alternative proposal to Platini by the end of October this year in lines with his challenge to member clubs to find a better solution than the one he proposed.

The G14 need support from other clubs in order to affect change (and stand up for their interests, right or wrong), and they’ll be working furiously behind the scenes to build bridges and bring in other clubs. At the end of the day though, the foundational ethos of the G14 is still elitist, and that won’t change if the group is renamed and expanded (if it did, many of the reasons for fighting against Platini would cease to matter).

To quote a UEFA spokesman:

“UEFA president Michel Platini has always said there is a need for a proper independent club body such as FIFPRO is for players and the EPFL is for the leagues. But he said it must be democratic and representative. This could be the answer.”

Not a place for politics, but it’s far easier to ‘pretend’ to be democratic than to actually install representative leadership – and I doubt G-14 will take the high road on any of this. Not if they want to retain their high status in European football.

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  1. Fifth Column 14 September, 2007
  2. Ahmed Bilal 14 September, 2007
  3. Andrei 14 September, 2007