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Friday, 7 January, 2000, 12:01 GMT
Does football need world championships?
Manchester United have joined other leading football clubs from around the globe in Brazil for the inaugural World Club Championships.
But not everyone is hypnotised by the hype. European governing body Uefa fears the competition cannot be fitted regularly into a packed fixture calendar, and Manchester United have admitted they would rather be back in England fighting for the Premiership and the FA Cup.
So what do you think? Glamour games or gimmick? Does football need the World Club Championships as the globe shrinks and does this reflect the way the sport will go in the new century? Or is this just a tournament too far?
Well, one thing that I still don't understand is how some people have underestimated English and Brazilian soccer's ability in the World Championship. I think the game on Saturday will give a great opportunity not only for fans but also to any viewer to see the European and South American differences.
We British have a very limited view of football. We are happy to accept that other continents have excellent national sides (Brazil, Argentina and Cameroon spring to mind) but on a club basis we believe Europe rules. I think that a world club tournament is fun and justified but the current format is laughable. If it is to be done then it should be based on the World Cup model, i.e. regional playoffs and knockout stages.
Please note at the present, the World club championship is too taxing on the players. Perhaps to close season tournaments would be best - summer June - August, or if this is unfair, especially if the other countries don't have their seasons timed like that, they might want to rotate the timing.
The main concern is that world-wide, in certain leagues, players are playing too many matches. I mean Manchester United for example already have played so many matches a year. The life span of footballers will then be reduced very significantly with the extra demands, pressure and wear and tear. This will also prompt players to demand for more. The snowball effect will end in the players and fans be over killed and will take the thrill out of the game.
Out of hundreds of teams throughout the world, it is hard to say one team is objectively the "World Champion." Match the winner of this tourney against the Champion's League Winner of this year. Who will win? Probably the Champion's League team. Teams are constantly changing and Manchester United of the 3 Titles is different from the one competing now. The World Cup is the only world competition that truly measures success!
Football is a global game and therefore the creation of global club competitions is a natural progression. As someone who enjoys watching football I applaud any move which provides us with the opportunity to see top class footballers from all over the world. Those who complain are simply being parochial.
Yes we need a club championship like this and it is about time to. Unfortunately the money grabbers at Fifa wouldn't know right and proper if it jumped up and hit them in the face so they have tarred this particular tournament with bureaucracy and politics. If the qualification procedures for the tournament are set in stone then it will be I'm sure a great tournament.
Much as I'd like to see Man United play so many non-league games that they tire themselves out, prejudice aside, this is not a good competition.
There are too many non-contenders involved. The excitement in this sport is not always the big teams playing the big teams, but the upsets of a Coventry beating an Arsenal. League or FA cup play still throws up the most interesting matches.
Here in this country we have truly parochial sports such as baseball claiming to crown a "world champion" with every "World Series" and the annual NFL American football super bowl champs are invariably referred to as "world champions." When we finally do have a truly global game I think it natural to want to see who is the best, the champion. Argue that this particular competition isn't it, more than fair enough, but the time has come. Can it be that there are so many football clubs that the chances of any single one being the "world champion" are so remote, supporters are afraid to give it a try.
Bill Cline, USA
This is not "sport".
It's business. All "sport" in North America is commerce for profit. It's a pity that you British can't see what the Americans are doing to your culture.
Back in the 1950's when United first entered the European cup we got the same reaction and disbelief about the validity of the competition, and look what that means to us today.
In another 10 years time United will be hailed, as the true pioneers of English (and world) football and all these disagreements will be forgotten.
Top British teams already play 60 league matches every season and at least two cups, and they are then supposed to compete in another championship a long way away and in a radically different climate?
When will we learn that fewer matches would give better games, and our national side might be able to train together and do well in internationals, for a change.
It's a meaningless championship. If South Melboune or Al Nassr win, (unlikely but possible) will it really mean that they are the best club in the world? Better than Lazio, Bayern Munich or Sunderland? Of course not! The games will be dull, players will be playing at half pace, some people will get very rich and the BBC will pretend that its as important as the champions league (which they haven't got the rights to).
United are ranked as one of the top teams in the world, why don't people recognise the achievements that united have attained this past century. It's about time the public embraced the world championships and wished Manchester united all the success out in Brazil.
A farce. Manchester United won only 5 of 11 European matches, and we are supposed to believe they are the best in Europe? Rubbish! Where in this competition is Barcelona, Bayern Munchen, and PSV Eindhoven? The calibre of the teams begs the inclusion of such powerhouses as Watford. Money, money, money.
I lived in Brazil for 6 years and argued endlessly with Brazilians about this. The South American teams have a massive inferiority complex about European teams. They are desperate to win the Toyota Cup in Tokyo every year, and truly consider themselves World Champions if and when they do. They will spend their whole year focussed on that one game. Vasco have been focussed on this championship since they lost to Real in 98. So while many of us arrogant Europeans don't believe in this tournament, much less care, it is massive over there. Sadly, Palmeiras are the SA champs, but are not in this tournament because Corinthians will bring in more fans (and money). Vasco won the SA champonship 2 years ago, but Corinthians have never got past the quarters. Also, having it at this time of year in Brazil, and making Man U play at 6pm local time is loading it totally in favour of the local sides.
Why not? After all in the World Cup the best selected national players have less time training together; compared with clubs that have players train together for longer periods...of course we are talking about quality here. FIFA should put this event into their calendar; if not annually maybe fixed periodically. Just like the World Cup / Euro Cup.
I think the noble game has gone the way of boxing. There are still great competitors, but it's the fans that have to deal with a game that consists of too much money, too many titles and too many promoters. I think I'll switch to the WWF, at least you know it's a sham.
Eric Bell, USA (ex-pat)
This championship is a great idea - the best of each continent playing each other for the genuine right to call themselves World Club Champions. If only that were the case as opposed to this exhibition tournament which doesn't even have every continental association champion participating. Teams should earn the right to compete (like Man Utd) instead of being invited (like Real Madrid) because of their illustrious past. Perhaps it will be better thought out next year. And while we're at it, let's ditch the Super Cup & Intercontinental Cup and other meaningless one-off competitions to relieve the congested calendar.
It will be interesting seeing how our local Australian team stacks up against international teams. It might give a bit of a pointer as to where Australia really rates. On that score alone it seems to be worth it.
This is quite clearly a 'made for T.V.' event. I only wish I was able to see it on my television here! Ah well, I'll just have to watch my Sheffield Wednesday videos instead!
I think that the competition will be a success, although I cannot understand why Lazio are not present.
It seems that The World Cup Championship is a farce from the point of view from top European clubs but it also give a sort of incentive to us like a Japanese club that usually cannot play with world's top clubs. The thing is, we've got a one-off competition, the Intercontinental Cup (aka Toyota Cup) every year in Tokyo so what does it count for? The European clubs play the Toyota Cup without passion nowadays partly because of the congested fixtures in Europe. Are Man U really eager to play that new Fifa's competition? And is the competition worth taking part in rather than the FA Cup?
Are Man Utd taking part because they want to play football or because they see the potentials of global markets for cable TV? I suspect the latter.
While the quality of the game can still be improved, they want to tire the players by forcing another season of competitions, worsening their performance. If they cut a couple of play the competitions it would be better than adding them.
I do not see why everyone is so negative about the world cup. I think it is always interesting to have more games and cups around to stir up people's interest in the sport. Besides chances are all those against will be glued on the their television for the game. The matter of money - they have never made it a secret. There has been always big money involved and that is purely because of the world's interest. This argument over the money just a form of jealousy, which is really not called for.
Anil, Hong Kong
Surely this is the future of football. I would far prefer to watch Man U against Fiorentina or whatever, rather than watch some of the domestic rubbish offered up week after week.
There are too many football clubs in Europe as it is. It really is time for the bigger clubs to play each other on a regular basis.
The European Champions league has already affected domestic focus for major clubs. The world club championship is not practical as teams will not be able to compete in domestic competitions. For many countries (including Australia), the Premier League and the FA Cup are still the main soccer focus for fans, even 12,000 miles away!
A World Club Championship may seem a good ides, but this competition is not that.
Much as I detest Man Utd. they deserve to be there, as do Madrid. But South Melbourne, Casablanca and A-Nassr? The real world club champions can be found by playing the European Champions against their South American counterparts.
How will the United players feel when their rivals are competing in the semi's of the FA Cup? If they are going well in the European Cup and the League they most likely won't mind too much, but if it's all gone pear shaped for them they won't like it one bit.
Surely the quality of the games will dictate the success of the tournament. I like many will be intrigued to watch club sides from difference continents play each other with their different styles of football. So, perhaps we should reserve our judgments until after the final.
Naveed Sattar, Scotland
Does football NEED a new championship?
When women's football can hardly
get sponsorship, let alone coverage, I
hardly think men's football needs another
excuse to pay themselves more money
whilst simultaneously massaging each others egos.
I thought United already were
unofficial world champions because of winning that other
non-event last year? No, we don't need a world league
and nor, incidentally, do we need a European league. As
far as I can see, the only good thing about the current
world championship is that it has forced, for some reason,
United out of the FA Cup. Perhaps we can get FIFA to
create a few more meaningless competitions and thus
force United out of domestic competition altogether. Now
there's a thought...!
What is the point of this new and very
essential championship? Could it be
to create even more money for the industry
by fleecing the fans? Could it be
to take the testosterone-driven petty
tribalism that football breeds to new heights?
Could it be to give a new and exciting
dimension to men's conversations?
I'm sure all will be revealed...
This tournament shows that market values are more important than sporting values. FIFA, EUFA, FA, Man Utd. et al are only interested in chasing the money. Fair enough you may say, but please don't confuse that with sport.
Half of the teams taking part are not even champions of their respective regions - the idea of this championship has completely detracted from it's original intention and we're left with a pretty meaningless tournament.
All Man United haters are against the tournament whereas the average footie supporter would like to see what happens in the competition. Sport is becoming an increasingly global pursuit with many countries competing at the highest level. I think that we should embrace every opportunity to compete with the best teams around - so what if it means missing out on the FA Cup - if United win the tournament think about the impact that could have on the British game. This country can't help but criticise the super achievers and waits for anyone to take a fall just so they can rub it in - give it a rest and lets support the team that are European Champions and deserve a place in this truly global club tournament - Good Luck Lads!
Joel Bramwell, Wales
Football needs world championships! The world
loves to see the very best in athletic performance from
those gifted with physical ability to endure the rigors of
It's the money, stupid!
The world club championships are a joke. Without Man United, the defending champions, the FA Cup is also a joke this season. There's far too much money in football. It's the only driving factor, so we can look forward to more of this type of made-for-TV competition in the future at the expense of domestic football.
Definitely have this championship and expand it - if all the top clubs take part Wolves might finally win the Premiership!
This event is not something that every country will be a part of every year, so those who are selected should try and make the most of the opportunity they have and the pundits watching enjoy a feast of high quality football drama rather than complaining about its validity or value.
Top clubs are multinational now. They can no longer be said to be representative of the nation that they reside. Clubs are now better than international sides; no one could dispute the fact that Manchester United, or Leeds or Arsenal, would beat France the so-called world champions.
It's a waste of time. Nobody is interested in this farce of a competition.
The idea is good in general, but I think it will not raise much attention, since there is no real rivalry between the clubs from different continents, at least not from the European point of view, and not to mention packed schedules.
If these are the world club championships how is it that only Man U are there? Surely ALL teams should be taking part...
In the very near future soccer is going to be dead. Too many fixtures and games will kill it. People will not be interested any more, especially now with the easy movement of the players from one team to the other and from one country to the other. Commercialisation will destroy the thrill of the game.
Football, like everything else, has to move with the times. There's certainly more point to a world club championship than Mickey Mouse competitions like the Worthington & UEFA Cups. Furthermore, domestic competitions in general have less meaning than in the past - what does Chelsea have to do with London or England save for the physical location of their ground?
Everyone in the football industry is greedy for more money.
What happen to the football pride, sportsmanship and team spirit?
Looks like a corporate board meeting every 4 years.
Football already has the World Cup, which is the most populous event in the whole world save for the Olympics. Any other event mushrooming as a World anything will never appeal to football fans the world over. Leave Football league championships to individual countries' football clubs.
Maybe if the European championships and the world club championships were amalgamated, there would be the opportunity to enjoy the excitement generated by European games, whilst expanding the scope to include the rest of the world. However, at the moment, I believe that there may be too many tournaments. Manchester United's problems finding the time to participate in all of them demonstrates this.
Why not give it a try?
It's only 8 teams from around the world. If it doesn't gain legitimacy, let it wither and die.
You don't get to see Man Utd / Real Madrid vs Corinthians / Necaxa every day.
The World Cup of 32 national teams is just fine. Success in club championships is too dependent on every club's financial potential rather than skills. Football is a kind of sport - and sport by definition should not discriminate.
I feel so sorry for Man Utd. I bet
they'll get a lot more money from
being in sunny Brazil than being in
cold wet England. There are too
many worthless competitions - we
need to remove some of them and
to hell with traditions.
If Manchester Utd win it this year, they'll be obliged to defend it
next year. Does that mean they'll pull out of the FA cup next year,
too? And every year that they, or any other year they're involved?
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