A Plan for a Fair European Super League

Plan by Clement Williams

Includes a description of the current state of European Football and the issue of a Super League plus an outline of what a European Continental League System in place of a breakaway Super League.

Inspired by:

https://gameofthepeople.com/2018/11/13/why-a-super-league-could-work-if-handled-properly/

https://gameofthepeople.com/2019/02/18/the-pros-and-cons-of-a-european-super-league/

Exposition & Plan: The Logic of it all

April 18th 2021: News broke today that once again the prospect of a breakaway European super league has reared its ugly head, with the New York Times and Bloomberg among others reporting that plans for the project are well under way.

While there are obvious and legitimate concerns about this often-rumored breakaway league, the underlying rationale of a season-long continental competition for UEFA’s biggest clubs shouldn’t be likewise dismissed. “But don’t we already have the Champions League” you might ask? Yes, but the proposed format changes have been unpopular and the plan for a “European Premier League”/”European Super League” beyond the UCL’s limitations are well on their way.

A UEFA statement on the matter reads that “The principles of solidarity, of promotion, relegation and open leagues are non-negotiable. It is what makes European football work and the Champions League the best sports competition in the world.”

UEFA has similarly threatened that clubs involved with this super league plan would be disallowed from competing in other domestic and cup competitions.

I however think the idea of a Super League was well-executed; if it were integrated and open, rather than closed and breakaway, it might be a boon to the overall health of the game. A European super league and corresponding European football league system could mean finding more meaningful competition for clubs and boosting general excitement in club football. And we could preserve historic cup and league competitions, repurposing them for a new era!

Furthermore, the success of the Nations League format for international football bodes well for the idea that UEFA could successfully operate such a continental pro-rel club football competition.

Accordingly, the point of the European Super League and any continental restructuring of the UEFA club football should be to acknowledge the economic forces at work in Europe which have shaped the continent and accordingly its football teams.

Indeed, Football has only become more global over time. We live in an era of globalization, albeit one curtailed in part by COVID 19, and football hasn’t been exempted from these processes.

First of all, in an era of global transnational corporations which transcend national boundaries, football is of course impacted from a sponsorship and financial standpoint: some of these companies (e.g. Red Bull GmbH) having themselves invested in football. The European union too, as the German sociologist Ulrich Beck often reflected upon, is a fundamentally transnational institution: it is in a sense the state-side mirroring of the transnational corporation. The EU’s labor rules in particular have undoubtedly affected the outlook of European football.

As a result of these two trends in labor and finance, as well as the scouting & recruiting benefits these entail, a number of clubs have outgrown their respective domestic footballing structures as they approach transnational status themselves.

Bayern Munich, PSG, and Juventus are known for winning their domestic leagues nigh on every year, but as just importantly the likes of Sheriff in Moldova, have won the Moldovan premier league 18 times out of the last 20!!! 90% of the time!!!!!!

Clearly PSG, Bayern, and Juventus need to find a consistently higher level of clubs to play against: the likes of the Barcelonas, the Man Citys, the Red Madrids, and the Liverpools… but Sheriff as well are too big for their domestic league and need a consistently higher level of opponent. This speaks to not just the organization of a super league with elite teams but rather a smart reorganization of European league structure to reflect the transnational realities of Europe, the European Union, and world football in general.

Firstly then, this calls for an elite league of the top 16 or so teams, analogous perhaps to the teams we would expect to see in the Champions League knockout rounds. Rather than having these teams break off and form an anti-competitive closed league, as has been often speculated, the goal should be to integrate any such super league with the rest of the European leagues… joining their domestic pyramids top to bottom. The ultimate goal is to ensure teams are playing matches that suit their level and their ambition.

We need to take better care of the bigger fish so to speak, but we also must make sure we have fewer big fish in small ponds terrorizing the guppies… to run with the analogy even further: more appropriately suitable aquarium tanks for fishes of all sizes.

The likes of Sheriff, Red Star, Copenhagen, Celtic, etc… should be playing European competition-level clubs more often than they do at the present. UEFA’s introduction of the 3rd tier competition excitingly christened the “Europa Conference League” is an attempt to try and address this, but it remains to be seen how effective this will be.

Therefore, this brings us to the second step: regional leagues underneath the super league known as “Regional-ligas” (confusing perhaps but it’s a working name) organized by football considerations based upon considerations of club coefficient rankings & ensuring domestic league competitiveness, but also by geopolitical considerations (Geographic proximity, cultural affinity, international relations etc… While in an ideal world there are only football and geography as considerations, practically the likes of Serbia and Albania’s political relations aren’t the best, and this sort of thing must be considered.

So, as you may notice, these two are in different Regional-ligas, since despite their geographical proximity, as it’s probably best for involved for them to avoid facing each other on a semi-permanent basis. However, with a geo-political history as long and complex as Europe’s: every international relations issue can’t be considered. Many of these countries have their teams face off against each other in Europe semi-regularly already anyways or have regular normalized diplomatic relations. Greece and Turkey don’t have the rosiest of histories, nor do Serbia and Croatia, yet they all have to play against someone… ultimately isolationism doesn’t work for any sort of European competition. While it’s difficult to come up with any sort of ideal solution: I tried many different possibilities including where to put the Baltic states, where to put Austria & Switzerland, etc… The status quo system is outdated and outmoded for the state of the game today and a tinkering is necessary.

The establishment of the competitions requires maintaining the connection these clubs have to their domestic game as well, particularly by preserving cup competitions. Keeping cup competitions while repurposing them by involving them in the qualification processes for reaching a higher division.

In this proposal: all UEFA domestic cup and Sub-Super League regional-liga competition winners will compete in a playoff qualification process for 4 promotion spots in the top division Superleague. This preserves the romantic potential for team like the 2013 FA Cup winning Wigan side to challenge for a spot at Europe’s biggest table, while also establishing a format better suiting Europe’s biggest clubs. Similarly, domestic league and league cup winners will be afforded the chance to compete at the higher Regional-liga level as a reward for their impressive achievements.

While the likes of Liverpool and Leicester will find themselves consistently competing at higher levels, we would still preserve the occasional instances of minnows romantically squaring off against the giants with a prize on the line in the cup.

Such an arrangement is both for the sake of the smaller club’s upward mobility, but also for those bigger clubs as well: preserving inter-divisional rivalries, ensuring local fan away days, finding gametime for their own fringe & youth players, and crucially for competitive reasons as well. The competitive wrinkle is as follows: Winning one’s domestic cup would afford the chance for an otherwise relegated team to re-earn their place in their league competition through their domestic cup’s afforded place in the qualification playoffs.  

FINANCE SECTION

It first must be acknowledged that the goal of any teams seeking to establish a super league is of course growth on the financial side, the desire to boost revenues in European football through broadcast and sponsorship. The combined top 14 football leagues in the world combine to roughly 20 billion in revenue (https://howmuch.net/articles/sports-leagues-by-revenue but while that sounds like a lot, there are numerous stakeholders involved to split such a figure between.

As a result, the additional revenue from Continental competition at present can be lucrative: according to UEFA: “The gross commercial revenue from the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League, the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League and the 2019 UEFA Super Cup is estimated at around €3.25bn.” (UEFA), but the aim of a full season Superleague competition with more fixtures and a truly global appeal should be* to grow that target to at least the size of NFL’s 13 Billion dollar revenue  (approximately 12.024 Billion euros). A top league with a focus on higher level matches and competition-wide sponsorship combined with the broadcast rights of the various regional Regional-ligas, this number (even excluding domestic league revenues) should be able to fetch upwards of twice the 32 team NFL’s revenue (26 billion dollars, €24bn), an overall increase to the total valuation of the European football market if we were to exclude the €4.2bn contributed by FIFA, UEFA and National Football Associations. (SOURCE https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/press-releases/articles/european-football-market-worth-28-billion-euros-as-premier-league-clubs-lead-the-way-to-record-revenues.html)

* Last year, the [2019] Super Bowl drew a little over 100 million viewers, a dip from the 2018 Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid drew 480 million viewers worldwide.  According to sources, only about two million of Champions League viewers were located in the United States, and the broadcast was available in more than 200 countries. By comparison, the Super Bowl is available in 180 countries, and anywhere from 30 million to 50 million viewers outside the U.S. watch.” (https://www.one37pm.com/strength/sports/champions-league-soccer-super-bowl)

This data shows that the viewer base for much higher revenue is there, but the issue is about best maximizing the underlying revenue from that viewership in a far more meaningful and effective way.

But back to that 3.25 BN euros number, according to UEFA “93.5% [was] to be distributed to the participating clubs.” Of that number, the “solidarity payments to non-participating clubs via their national associations will represent 4% of the overall gross revenues of the two competitions, a forecast total of €130m will therefore be distributed to national associations for their clubs” (UEFA).

This would mean that if UEFA grew the total revenue of the European football and distributed this same percentage: A total revenue between 13 billion and 26 billion would mean a solidarity figure in the realm of 520 million-1.04 billion dollars or between 480,960,000 and 961,168,000 euros.

Looking at another example, In the 2017-2018 season, The Premier League’s equivalent solidarity was as follows:

• £100m in Solidarity Payments split amongst the remaining 64 football league clubs (roughly 2% of total revenue).

However, combined with the controversial 243 million pounds parachute payments for the 8 relegated clubs, this meant a higher overall figure of 343 million pounds: roughly 7% of the total 4.8 billion revenue thereby going to solidarity payments of various kinds.

This model accordingly mean a solidarity total of 910 million dollars to 1.82 billion dollars or between roughly 750 million and 1.5 billions pounds.

This figure which could further empower teams outside the biggest leagues in Europe paired with helping facilitate those clubs’ own generation of revenue through UEFA standard recommendations, subsidized vendors, etc..

Espeically in the aftermath of COVID-19, once again while the focus should be on growing the total revenue and helping the world’s biggest clubs realize their potential, but the whole structure should be about using the total broadcasting and sponsorship revenue growth to thereby facilitate the stability of pyramid.

The more successful clubs are lower down the pyramid, the more players playing and at a higher level of training, the higher the overall standard and therefore a better overall pool of talent to trickle up to the top teams.

Additionally, part of the overall financial calculus should be to loosen FFP restrictions on top clubs and let them spend to their heart’s content… but in so doing putting in place an NBA-like luxury tax that contributes directly to solidarity payments for both their divisional competitors and their respective domestic system’s teams. That way the spending of the Man Citys and PSGs of the world can act as a rising tide lifting all boats rather than drowning clubs in an ocean of rising wage costs.

Furthermore, UEFA and the ECA should be thinking of smartly leveraging opportunities using the fallout of the Coronavirus to establish longer-standing restrictions on agent fees, putting in place a standard practice of relegation clauses (but also performance bonuses for promotions) and ensuring the existence of pro-labor release clauses to facilitate financial stability throughout the European continent.

There are a few other assorted benefits to this whole exercise:

For example, by reconfiguring the European League tier system, we can return Cardiff and Swansea to the Welsh football pyramid alongside Newport County, Wrexham, etc… giving them a chance to compete in their own league system while offering them the possibility of higher levels of competition through their Regional-liga.

In Ireland and in the Baltic: fully professional teams that need a consistently higher level could join either a Combined Baltic & Irish Tier 3 regional-liga format combining the top teams from both regions: i.e. Crusaders, Shamrock, Linfield, Cork, FK Ventspils, Zalgiris, etc… teams that wouldn’t make the cut for a regional-liga but that also need a consistently higher level than their domestic league…  The goal being to maximize the footballing potential of every UEFA nation.

ANYHOW WITHOUT FURTHER ADO:

Here is my Quarantine Magnum Opus as to what such a league system could look like:

SYSTEM OVERVIEW:

Continental League system tier structure

TIER 1: European Super League

Tier 2: Four-Eight Regional leagues

Tier 3: Domestic League System

The general Competitions a team participates in depends on their tier but follows this pattern:

  1. Their respective league competition be it the SuperLeague, Regional League, or their domestic league.
  2. Their domestic cup competition (DFB Pokal, FA Cup, Copa Del Rey, etc)
  3. Their “league” cup, for Superleague & regionaliga teams this is the new “European Cup” competition, for continental tier 3 and below: their respective league cup: EFL cup, Coupe de la ligue, etc…

So tier-by-tier the competitions teams are involved in looks like this:

Superleague teams:

#1 European Super League

#2 European Cup (a continental team League cup competition)

#3 Domestic cup (Copa Del Rey, DFB Pokal, etc…)

Regional-liga teams:

#1 Regional League (Mitropa, Benelux, etc..)

#2 European Cup (Continental League Cup competition),

#3 Domestic cup (Copa Del Rey, FA cup, etc)

Domestic Teams:

#1 Domestic league (EPL, Bundesliga, etc)

#2 Domestic Cup (Copa Del Rey, etc)

#3 League Cup (Coupe de la Ligue, Carabao Cup, etc…)

Then when the regular season ends we get a period of SPECIAL SESSION TOURNAMENTS

  1. First of all: The Winner of the European Cup is guaranteed a place in the European Super League the following season. They are exempted from these tournaments.
  2. All Regional-Liga winners and domestic cup winners earn a place in the playoffs where they compete for the remaining 3-4 (depending on the European cup winner) European super League places up for grabs.
  3. All* domestic league winners and league cup winners enter the playoffs to qualify for the promotion spots for their respective Regional-liga.

*In the advent of a Tier3 team winning their domestic cup (FA Cup, DFB Pokal, etc…), but also having won their league (EPL/Edrevise/etc…) or League cup (Carabao, etc) and thus qualifying for the Regionaliga qualification playoffs,

SAID TEAM automatically qualifies for their respective Tier2 Regionaliga without having to play in the playoff, but can earn a chance at the Tier1 SuperLeague via the playoffs.

Anyway based off of the 2020 coefficents, here is how the European Football League structure would look:

SUPER LEAGUE:

12-16 teams (based solely upon 2019-2020 UEFA club coefficient)

Nation composition:

England: 4-6 teams, Spain: 4 teams, Italy: 1-3 teams, Germany: 2 teams, France: 1 team

Real Madrid

Atlético Madrid

Barcelona

Bayern Munich

Juventus

Man City

Paris Saint-Germain

Liverpool

Manchester United

Arsenal

Sevilla

Dortmund

———

Spurs

Chelsea

Roma

Napoli

Spiel:

This is the peak-level of UEFA competition, with each team playing a total of 22-30 league games depending on the size of the competition. My personal format preference is 16 teams with 4 relegation spots. Also, depending on fixture congestion and support for the idea: there exists the possibility of a 4-6 team playoff with 2-tie knockout rounds and then the massive spectacle of a European Super League Final to determine the overall continental champion. This playoff might further make games more meaningful for so-called “mid-table” sides not in danger of relegation and preserves the current excitement of the champions League Final format. However it also risks “Americanizing” the much beloved single-table format of leagues around the world… so ultimately the fans are the ultimate guide and a balance is required.

REGIONAL-LIGAs

These are much more difficult to figure out than the top league, so I’m including three possible setups for how it might work but there are of course myriad more possibilities possible, so feel free to comment your own: Anyhow here my three:

Setup 1:

6 regional leagues,

12-16 team SuperLeague + 72-94 Regionaliga teams  

= Minimum (12 SuperLeague + 76 Regional-liga)= 88 teams

= Maximum (16 SuperLeague + 94 Regional-liga) = 110 teams

Regional-liga divisions

Iberian

  • Spain, Portugal, France, Andorra, and Gibraltar

Benelux

  • Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg

Northern

  • Denmark. Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Faroe Islands
  • Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
  • England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland

Mediterranean

  • Turkey, Cyprus, Greece
  • Italy, Malta, San Marino
  • Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Romania

Western / or “Black Sea”

  • Russia, Ukraine
  • Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova

+ Israel

Mitropa

  • Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein
  • Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia,
  • Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia

League 1: (Iberrian Premier) 12-14 teams

Spain: 3

Portugal: 4

France: 4

Andorra:

Gibraltar:

—————

TEAMS:

Lyon (17)

Porto (19)

Benfica (20)

Villarreal (24)

Valencia (27)

Sporting (30)

Braga (35)

Monaco (37)

Athletic Club de Bilbao (43)

Marseille (53)

St. Etienne (68)

—————— + 1 = 12 (playoff?)

• Lincoln Red Imps (215)

FC Santa Coloma (240)

• Celta Vigo (76 https://www.football-coefficient.eu/coefficient/#table-club-history-coefficients) UEFA 80

• Stade Rennes 97 https://www.football-coefficient.eu/coefficient/#table-club-history-coefficients) UEFA: 104

League 2: (Benelux) 12-14-16 team formats

Germany (6)

Belgium (5)

Netherlands (2-4)

Luxembourg (0-2)

——

TEAMS

Ajax (21)

Leverkusen (23)

Schalke (31)

Leipzig (32)

Gent (38)

PSV (40)

Wolfsburg (41)

Anderlecht (42)

Eintracht (48)

Genk (55)

Brugge (57)

Standard Liege (74)

———————— (12 team cutoff)

AZ Alkmaar (83)

Feyenoord (90)

——————— (14 team cutoff)

F91 Dudelange (141)

—————— (15 teams, playoff for last spot)

Royal Antwerp (144)

CS Fola (210)

League 3, (Atlantic Premier League/Northern Europa Premier): ALP/NEP 12-14-16

Denmark (2-3)

Sweden (1-2)

Norway (2)

Finland (1?)

Iceland (??1??)

Faroe Islands (1?)

+

Estonia

Latvia

Lithuania

&

England (2-4)

Scotland (2)

Wales (0-1-2)

Northern Ireland

Ireland

——

D1 TEAMS:

Copenhagen (39) DEN

Celtic (45) SCO

Malmo (66) SWE

Leicester (70) ENG

Wolves (85) ENG

Rangers (94) SCO

Molde (95) NOR

Midtyjilland (96) DEN

Rosenborg (110) NOR

Brondby (138) DEN

Dundalk (139) IRL

The New Saints FC (158) WAL

——————————  12 team cutoff

HJK Helsinki (159)

———— 2 leg Playoff for last 3 places

Ostersunds (125) or AIK (147?)

FK Ssuduva (164), Lithuania

Crusaders (209) NIR

??Lincoln (215), Gibraltar??

Nõmme Kalju FC (223): ESTONIA

FK Liepaja (260): LATVIA

For the leagues with no clear dominant teams, their representative will be chosen through subsequent year champions:

ICELAND, FAROE ISLANDS

Notes:

Feeder Leagues: (with 2020 league ranking coefficient)

2nd Premier League (Automatic Superligue promotion)

13th Danish League (automatic 1st season promotion to superliga)

14th Scottish Premier (automatic 1st season promotion to superliga)

——

21st Swedish League (enters last round of playoff)

22nd Norwegian League (enters last round of playoff)

——

43rd Finnish Premier

46th Iceland Premier

47th Welsh Premier + (Welsh English Football Pyramid Teams)

?? 49th Gibraltar League ??

53rd Faroe Island League

+

Combined Irish Premier (IRL(42), NIR(48)) —> AVG 45

Combined Baltic Premier (EST(51), LAT(37), LIT(35)) —> AVG 41st

League 4, Mediterranean League

Turkey (4)

Cyprus (2-3)

Greece (3)

+

Italy (3-5)

Malta (0-1)

San Marino (0-1)

+

Macedonia (0-1)

Albania: (0-2)

Kosovo: (0)

Bulgaria: 1

+

Romania (1-2-3)

TEAMS: (14-16)

Besiktas (28)

Olympiacos (34)

Lazio (36)

Atalanta (50)

Inter (51)

Fenerbahce (52)

APOEL FC (58)

Ludogorets (60)

Galatasaray (64)

Istanbul Basaksehir (71)

PAOK (73)

Steau Bucheresti (75)

————————— 12 team cutoff

AEK Athens (92)

CFR Cluj (113)

—————————— 14 team cutoff

Apollon Limassol (114)

———————————

—————————————Playoffs for final spot

AC Milan (81)

Fiorentina (82)

AEK Larnaca (123), CYP

FC Astra Giurgiu (131), ROU

KF Shkëndija (150), N.MKD

KF Skënderbeu (182), ALB

FK Kukësi (198), ALB

Valletta FC (212?), MAL

KF Feronikeli, KOS

Tre Penne, SAN M. // La Fiorita, SAN M.

Due to the sheer number of borderline teams maybe grow the league in following seasons to an 18-20 team league with 6 relegation spots?

  • 4 automatic
  • 2 relegation playoffs

League 5: (Post-Soviet AKA the Black Sea Premier)

Russia

Georgia

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Kazakhstan

Ukraine

Belarus,

Moldova (1)?

+

 Israel

TEAMS:

Shakhtar Donetsk (18)

Zenit (22)

Dynamo Kyiv (25)

CSKA Moskva (33)

FC Krasnodar (44)

Lokomotiv Moskva (49)

FC Astana (56)

Bate (63)

Maccabi Tel Aviv (65)

Qarabag (72)

Spartak Moskva (84)

FC Sheriff (112)

————————— 12 Team Cutoff

FC Zorya (115)

FC Alashkert (179)

————————— Playoff for last 2 spots

BYE: Hapoel Beer Sheva FC (124), ISR

BYE: Gabala (148). AZB

Dinamo Minsk (161), UKR

FC Kairat Almaty (180), KAZ

Pyunik (195), ARM

Dinamo Tsiblisi, GEO

League 6: Mitropa

Liechtenstein(0-1)

Switzerland (2-3)

Austria (2-3)

Czech Republic (3-4)

Poland (1-2)

Slovakia (0-2)

Hungary (1-2)

Slovenia (1)

Croatia (2-3)

Bosnia & Herzegovina (0-1?)

Montenegro (0)

Serbia (2)

Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Basel (26)

Salzburg (29)

Young Boys (62)

Rapid Wien (69)

FC Vaduz (196)

Czech Republic:

FC Viktoria Plzeň (46)

Sparta Praha (54)

Slavia Praha (59)

Serbia:

Red Star (65)

Patrizan (67)

Croatia:

Dinamo Zagreb (47)

HNK Rijeka (121)

Poland:

Legia Warsaw (91)

Slovenia:

Maribor (108)

Hungary:

Fehervar FC (122)

TABLE: (12-14-16)

Basel (26)

Salzburg (29)

FC Viktoria Plzeň (46)

Dinamo Zagreb (47)

Sparta Praha (54)

Slavia Praha (59)

Young Boys (62)

Red Star (65)

Patrizan (67)

Rapid Wien (69)

Legia Warsaw (91)

Maribor (108)

————————— 12 team cutoff

HNK Rijeka (121)

Fehervar FC (122)

————————— Playoffs for final 2 spots

Ferencvarosi (135) HUN

Spartak Trnava (140), SVK

FC Slovan Liberec (143), Czech

HNK Hajduk Split (149), CRO

SK Slovan Bratislava (156), SVK

Lech Poznan (162), POL

HŠK Zrinjski (178), BOS

FC Vaduz (196)

BUDUĆNOST PODGORICA, Montenegro

FK Sutjeska, Montenegro

Setup 2:

6 regional leagues,

12-16 team SuperLeague + 72-94 Regionaliga teams 

= Minimum (12 SuperLeague + 76 Regional-liga)= 88 teams

= Maximum (16 SuperLeague + 94 Regional-liga) = 110 teams

The same as Setup 1, except for Switzerland and Lichtenstein now fall under league 2 instead of league 6

Regional-liga divisions

Iberian

  • Spain, Portugal, France, Andorra, and Gibraltar

Benelux

  • Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg
  • Switzerland & Liechtenstein

Northern

  • Denmark. Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Faroe Islands
  • Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
  • England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland

Mediterranean

  • Turkey, Cyprus, Greece
  • Italy, Malta, San Marino
  • Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Romania

Western / or “Black Sea”

  • Russia, Ukraine
  • Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova

+ Israel

Mitropa

  • Austria
  • Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia,
  • Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia

League 2: (Benelux)

Germany (5-6)

Belgium (5)

Netherlands (2-4)

Luxembourg

+

Switzerland(2-3)

Liechenstein (0-1)

——

TEAMS

Ajax (21)

Leverkusen (23)

Basel (26)

Schalke (31)

Leipzig (32)

Gent (38)

PSV (40)

Wolfsburg (41)

Anderlecht (42)

Eintracht (48)

Genk (55)

Brugge (57)

——————— (12 team cutoff)

Young Boys (62)

AZ Alkmaar (83)

———————— 14+ 2 playoff

Standard Liege (74)

Feyenoord (90)

F91 Dudelange (141)

FC Vaduz (196)

League 6: MITROPA

Austria (2-3)

Czech Republic (3-4)

Poland (1-2)

Slovakia (0-2)

Hungary (1-2)

Slovenia (1)

Croatia (2-3)

Bosnia & Herzegovina (0-1?)

Montenegro (0)

Serbia (2)

Romania (2-3)

————

TEAMS:

Salzburg (29)

FC Viktoria Plzeň (46)

Dinamo Zagreb (47)

Sparta Praha (54)

Slavia Praha (59)

Red Star (65)

Partizan (67)

Rapid Wien (69)

Steau Bucheresti (75)

Legia Warsaw (91)

Maribor (108)

CFR Cluj (113)

————————— 12 team cutoff, 4 spots playoffs?

HNK Rijeka (121)

Fehervar FC (122)

—————————— 14 teams 2 playoff sports

FC Astra Giurgiu (131), ROU

Ferencvarosi (135) HUN

Spartak Trnava (140), SVK

FC Slovan Liberec (143) Czech

+ HNK Hajduk Split (149), CRO

+ SK Slovan Bratislava (156), SVK

+ Lech Poznan (162), POL

HŠK Zrinjski (178), BOS

+ BUDUĆNOST PODGORICA, Montenegro

+ FK Sutjeska, Montenegro

Setup 3:

Hybrid Regional-liga/Big 5

The Big 5 domestic leagues (minus their Superleague participants) are made European Tier 2 leagues underneath the Super league alongside the Regional-ligas. So the Tier underneath the Superleague looks like this:

5 Domestic “Big 5” Leagues (without their ESL teams)

  • England (16-18 teams)
  • Germany (16 teams)
  • Spain (16 teams)
  • Italy (18 teams)
  • France (18 teams)

5 Regional-Ligas

  • Benelux
    • Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechenstein
  • Northern
    • Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Faroe Islands
    • Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
    • Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, + Gibraltar (0-1)
  • Mediterranean
    •  Portugal, Andorra
    • Turkey, Cyprus, Greece
    • Malta, San Marino
    • North Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Bulgaria
  • Mitropa
    • Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania
    • Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia
  • Western
    • Russia, Ukraine
    • Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova
    • Israel

12-16 team SuperLeague + 84-86 Big 5 teams & 72-76 Regionaliga teams 

Regional-liga divisions

BENELUX LEAGUE:

Belgium (5)

Netherlands (4)

Austria (2-3)

Switzerland(2-3)

Luxembourg (1)

Liechenstein (1)

TEAMS: (15-16)

Ajax (21)

Basel (26)

Salzburg (29)

Gent (38)

PSV (40)

Anderlecht (42)

Genk (55)

Brugge (57)

Young Boys (62)

Rapid Wien (69)

Standard Liege (74)

AZ Alkmaar (83)

Feyenoord (90)

F91 Dudelange (141)

FC Vaduz (196)

————— Next 4 (playoff for last spot)

FC Zurich (111) Switzerland #3

LASK (103)  Austria #3

Fola (210) (Luxembourg #2)

Royal Antwerp Belgium #6

Northern League:

Denmark (2-3)

Sweden (1-2)

Norway (2)

Finland (1?)

Iceland (??1??)

Faroe Islands (1?)

+

Estonia

Latvia

Lithuania

&

Scotland (2)

Wales (0-1-2)

Northern Ireland

Ireland (1-2)

+

Gibraltar (0-1)

TEAMS: (4 relegation spots?)

Copenhagen (39) DEN

Celtic (45) SCO

Malmo (66) SWE

Rangers (94) SCO

Molde (95) NOR

Midtyjilland (96) DEN

Rosenborg (110) NOR

Brondby (138) DEN

Dundalk (139) IRL

The New Saints FC (158) WAL

HJK Helsinki (159)

Ostersunds (125 vs AIK (157) for 2nd spot

———— Playoff for last 4 places

FK Ssuduva (164), Lithuania

Crusaders (209) NIR

??Lincoln (215), Gibraltar??

Nõmme Kalju FC (223): ESTONIA

FK Liepaja (260): LATVIA

ICELAND: ???

FAROE ISLANDs: ???

————

2nd Tiers: (with 2020 league ranking coefficient)

13th Danish League (automatic 1st season promotion to superliga)

14th Scottish Premier (automatic 1st season promotion to superliga)

——

21st Swedish League (enters last round of playoff)

22nd Norwegian League (enters last round of playoff)

——

43rd Finnish Premier

46th Iceland Premier

47th Welsh Premier + (Welsh English Football Pyramid Teams)

?? 49th Gibraltar League ??

53rd Faroe Island League

+

Combined Irish Premier (IRL(42), NIR(48)) —> AVG 45

Combined Baltic Premier (EST(51), LAT(37), LIT(35)) —> AVG 41st

Mediterranean:

// Portugal (4) //

Andorra

+

Turkey (4)

Cyprus (2-3)

Greece (3)

+

Malta (0-1)

San Marino (0-1)

+

North Macedonia (0-1)

Albania: (0-2)

Kosovo: (0)

Bulgaria: 1

Portugal (4)

Porto (19)

Benfica (20)

Sporting (30)

SC Braga (35)

Turkey (4)

Besiktas (28)

Fenerbahce (52)

Galatasaray (64)

Istanbul Basaksehir (71)

Greece (3)

Olympiacos (34)

PAOK (73)

AEK Athens (92)

Cyprus (2-3)

APOEL FC (58)

Apollon Limassol (114)

———————

AEK Larnaca (123)

Bulgaria

Ludogorets (60)

TABLE:

Porto (19)

Benfica (20)

Besiktas (28)

Sporting (30)

Olympiacos (34)

SC Braga (35)

Fenerbahce (52)

APOEL FC (58)

Ludogorets (60)

Galatasaray (64)

Istanbul Basaksehir (71)

PAOK (73)

AEK Athens (92)

Apollon Limassol (114)

——————————— Playoff for Final 2 spots

AEK Larnaca (123), CYP

KF Shkëndija (150), N.MKD

KF Skënderbeu (182), ALB

FK Kukësi (198), ALB

Valletta FC (212?), MAL

FC Santa Coloma (240?), AND

KF Feronikeli, KOS

Tre Penne, SAN M. // La Fiorita, SAN M.

Notes:

  1. San Marino”s Cattolica Calcio S.M. is returned from Serie D to the San Marino Top Division League
  • FC Andorra likewise returned from Spanish Segunda division to Andorran Premier League
  • The creation of a combined Albania (38) & Kosovo (52nd) Premier League

Western League

Russia (5)

Georgia (0?)

Armenia (1)

Azerbaijan (2)

Kazakhstan (1)

Ukraine (3)

Belarus (2)

Moldova (1)

+

Israel

Allocation:

Russia:

Zenit (22)

CSKA Moskva (33)

FC Krasnodar (44)

Lokomotiv Moskva (49)

Spartak Moskva (84)

+

ARMENIA

FC Alashkert (179)

———

Pyunik (195)

+

Azerbaijan

Qarabag (72)

———————

Gabala (148)

Kazakhstan

FC Astana (56)

Ukraine:

Shakhtar Donetsk (18)

Dynamo Kyiv (25)

FC Zorya (115)

Belarus

Bate (63)

—————————

??Dinamo Minsk (161)??

Moldova:

FC Sheriff (112)

TABLE:

Shakhtar Donetsk (18)

Zenit (22)

Dynamo Kyiv (25)

CSKA Moskva (33)

FC Krasnodar (44)

Lokomotiv Moskva (49)

FC Astana (56)

Bate (63)

Maccabi Tel Aviv (65)

Qarabag (72)

Spartak Moskva (84)

FC Sheriff (112)

FC Zorya (115)

FC Alashkert (179)

————————— Playoff for last 2 spots

BYE: Hapoel Beer Sheva FC (124), ISR

BYE: Gabala (148). AZB

Dinamo Minsk (161), UKR

FC Kairat Almaty (180), KAZ

Pyunik (195), ARM

Dinamo Tsiblisi, GEO

Mitropa

Czech Republic (3-4)

Poland (1-2)

Slovakia (0-2)

Hungary (1-2)

Slovenia (1)

Croatia (2-3)

Bosnia & Herzegovina (0-1?)

Montenegro (0)

Serbia (2)

Romania (2-3)

TEAMS:


Czech Republic

FC Viktoria Plzeň (46)

Sparta Praha (54)

Slavia Praha (59)

Poland:

Legia Warsaw (91)

Slovakia:

Spartak Trnava (140)

Hungary

Fehervar FC (122)

Slovenia:

Maribor (108)

Croatia:

Dinamo Zagreb (47)

HNK Rijeka (121)

Bosnia:

HŠK Zrinjski (178)

Serbia:

Red Star (65)

Patrizan (67)

Romania:

Steau Bucheresti (75)

CFR Cluj (113)

TABLE:

FC Viktoria Plzeň (46)

Dinamo Zagreb (47)

Sparta Praha (54)

Slavia Praha (59)

Red Star (65)

Partizan (67)

Steau Bucheresti (75)

Legia Warsaw (91)

Maribor (108)

CFR Cluj (113)

HNK Rijeka (121)

Fehervar FC (122)

Spartak Trnava (140)

HŠK Zrinjski (178)

———————————— (8 teams 2 SPOTS),

Playoffs:

+ FC Astra Giurgiu (131), ROU

+ FC Slovan Liberec (143) Czech

+ HNK Hajduk Split (149), CRO

+ SK Slovan Bratislava (156), SVK

+ Lech Poznan (162), POL

+ BUDUĆNOST PODGORICA, Montenegro

+ FK Sutjeska, Montenegro

+ Ferencvarosi (135) HUN

Davidson Men’s Soccer 2017-2018 Preview; (published elsewhere on Medium)

Preface: Since penning this article, the Wildcats have continued their unbeaten preseason into the regular season, now standing at perfect 3–0. Not so middling after all Clement, huh? While it remains to be seen if the ‘Cats can continue this form into conference play, they’ve certainly hit the ground running. With the likes of previously scoreless junior, Coleman Richards, suddenly scoring 2 in 2, it appears this team may be better than anyone could have previously anticipated.

 

Davidson men's soccer
The 2017–2018 Wildcats

 

Picked to finish 10th in the annual A-10 preseason poll, this season looks to be an improved yet middling one for the wily but somewhat un-extraordinary Wildcats. Returning 8 starters from a team that finished above only George Mason’s winless squad in conference, Davidson should improve upon their two win mark of last season.

While lacking a preseason all-conference selection, this veteran-laden roster should rely on its cohesiveness and experience as 16 of its 27 rostered players are upperclassmen. In lieu of a true superstar like graduated top scorer and all conference selection Maxi Pragnell, that experience will be key to the team’s chances of exceeding its predicted tenth place finish.

The strength of this year’s team, lies in the defense, with last year’s back line returning intact. No-nonsense Senior-captain Matt Reinikka will anchor this back four alongside fellow senior, Nathan Marder, upon his return from injury. It doesn’t get much more solid than reliable junior right fullback, Jordan Hill. Hill, who doubles as a center back, is much more of a traditional defender than a vertically marauding wing-back, whereas speedy senior co-captain Cort Coxhead provides a killer final ball from wide positions. Also watch out for dynamic sophomore fullback Malcolm Mccabe, a speedy and shrewd two-way player, who started thirteen games last year as a freshman. Given the team’s penchant for absorbing pressure and looking to counter, Coach Spear will be relying on his veteran back line to keep the opposition off the scoresheet and find the forwards in transition.

Moving forward, in the middle of the park, either senior anchor man Zach Marks or the fiery Seattle born answer to Lee Cattermole, A.K.A. sophomore John Dale, will bring some grit to the engine room alongside senior midfield maestro, Hunter Howard. Freshman Jamie Diluzio, the former #1 New York state recruit, looks likely to contribute immediately and perhaps potentially push Dale and Marks for a starting spot. Additionally, junior Matthew Gandier impressed in preseason but didn’t feature for one reason or another in the season opener.

Out wide, Peterson and Chau will provide the width, although the latter will likely find himself deputizing at right back more often than not when Hill is shifted to center back. Offensively, the team’s most obvious x factor comes in the form of sophomore focal point Jaylen Thompson. Thompson’s speed and dribbling prowess together make him a formidable wind player and a handful for the opposition. Those capabilities together with his continually improving hold up play make him my pick for an all conference selection come the end of the year.

In goal, the hole vacated by the graduated Andrew Kenneson looks to be filled by senior Sam Bissett, but with a freshman, sophomore, and junior on his tail and all having seen time in preseason, his job is far from locked up.

Finally, with the forward positions, just like in goal, the battle for Pragnell’s vacated lone striker role will likely go the way of Alexander the Great’s dying words: “To the Strongest”. Senior Danny Davis looks to be the favorite, but sophomore Charlie Caswell has played well in preseason and could very well be relied upon as the starting option. Likewise, freshman forwards Quinn Dudek and Hugh Chatham will hope to stake claims for game time in the role as well. Underneath the lone forward, the “shadow striker” role looks to belong to Morrissett, who looks to create chances for both Caswell and Davis as well as for himself.

Bottom line in two years time, this team should be a potent force with the likes of Thompson, Mccabe, Morrissett, and Diluzio as upperclassmen. If Coach Spear can effectively complement that core of players, then the 2019-2020 Wildcats will be competing for a league title. Until then, however, the Cats will have to battle for every inch in their battle to make waves in the competitive A-10.

If the Wildcats are looking for success both in and outside the classroom this season, then they’ll need to draw upon their philosophy notes and realize Aristotle’s notion that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. With three wins and a draw including preseason and a home opening victory, who knows? If the Cat’s blend of experience and underclass talent can continue then who knows, maybe these wildcats can take that elusive step forward and truly make excellence a habit.

Allez les rouges

Beautiful…

Supporters Not Customers

It’s over. It’s finally over.

As I sat in tears in an emptying stand in Lyon, I thought back on a journey. A journey which began in Andorra two years ago and called at Cardiff, Brussels, Haifa, Nicosia, Zenica, Bordeaux, Lens, Toulouse, Paris and Lille finally terminated in Lyon, end of the line, all change.

All change are the right words, because this campaign really has changed everything. It has changed Welsh football forever, from top to bottom. Once the laughing stock of world football, we have become one of the most respected international sides in Europe. For our players too, nothing will be the same after this. Hal Robson-Kanu, the man without a club after leaving Reading has scored what will be the goal of the tournament, barring something even more spectacular in the final. Chris Gunter has become a legend, his reliable play a big help for the…

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DID I NOT PREDICT IT LAST YEAR?!? Leicester’s Alarmingly Immediate yet Predictable Decline

On the final day of January, one fairly average premier league outfit beat a club devoid of quality or confidence, pushing those strugglers further towards relegation. What was so unusual about that game? Well of the two teams involved, the relegation threatened club weren’t the victors, traditional bubble team Burnley, but rather the reigning Premier League champions. Yes, the champions of England currently sit in 17th on 21 points after 25 games. Yes, this season Leicester tied the record set by 1962/63 Ipswich for the least points after winning the title, then proceeded to seize sole control of the unfortunate honor against Burnley. So as miraculous as their title was last year, their fall from grace has been almost as remarkable.

There are several things are at play here.

Firstly, their entire lineup got a year older. That’s no biggie for their 27 years olds, but for an ancient backline with an average age of 31 and a half, that’s a lifetime. Leicester were sorely needing at least another center back this summer and they failed to bring one in.

Already summer transfer Hernandez left the club for Malaga this past January. So with the addition of loan signing Molla Wague from Udinese cancelling out the departed Jeffrey Schlupp, Leicester have literally zero additional defenders from last season’s roster. In fact, considering that Ranieri has plugged Amartey into the midfield to try and compensate for the loss of Kante (We’ll get to him later) they’ve even lost depth in the position in direst need of reinforcement. Inconceivably bad business on behalf of the front office.

Next, last year Leicester played only 23 players total in the League and only 18 players played over 5 games in all competitions last season. That’s incredible. Leicester had the lowest rotation of any Premier League side, and of any Premier League Champion. It’s miraculous, they were remarkably fortunate with injuries and a lot of that comes from a lack of fixture congestion.

That fact was only possible though because they played only 43 competitive games, 2 of which came after they mathematically had won the league. The total of games is only 3 more than the absolute minimum they possibly could play. This year with qualification for the champions league, and further progress in the cups, already they’re guaranteed a total of 50 games.

 

leicester-porto
Leicester clearly did not have the squad depth to compete both in the Champions League and their domestic competitions.

 

Clearly with these additional games they needed far more depth, yet they only signed 6 players this past summer in addition to letting key player N’Golo Kante leave. The departure of Kante was a tremendous blow, in fact he was perhaps Leicester’s most important player last season, having led the league both in tackling and interceptions while picking up a mere three yellow cards.

kante-season-stats

That accomplishment is an astonishing feat in and of itself, disregarding his offensive contributions and solid 82% pass completion rate. With Kante, Leicester were able to revive the previously fossilized 4-4-2 formation because he could do the work of two men in center midfield. So since his departure, Leicester haven’t been able to reliably field the formation and not be overwhelmed in the middle of the park. In that sense, Kante’s departure represents the quintessential example of “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”

Nevertheless, there was little the club could have done to dissuade his departure. Leicester actually did a fairly competent job of retaining their best players in Vardy, Mahrez, and Drinkwater. However, they couldn’t convince the diminutive Frenchman to stay; his release clause was triggered by Antonio Conte’s Chelsea and the Frenchman made what initially appeared to be a backwards step. Of course, now Chelsea sit 8 points clear of the chasing pack and Leicester a mere point from the relegation zone… so much for a backwards step.

In addition to letting Kante walk, they also sold many of the players they had sent on loan last year. So while some will say they spent big money (100 mil dollars), it doesn’t matter because they sold enough players that their net spend was merely of 15 million pounds.

REMEMBER THIS TEAM WON THE TITLE AND RECEIVED 51 MILLION POUNDS MORE THAN THE PREVIOUS YEAR SOLELY FROM COMPETITION BONUSES. For a team that needed two full elevens to compete in the league, cups, and europe such a net spend is absolutely nothing. Even stereotypically stingy second place Arsenal spent a net of 100 million euros. EVEN LOWLY BURNLEY NET OUTSPENT THEM BY OVER DOUBLE DIGIT MILLIONS!

Leicester needed 11-13 players, particularly if they weren’t gonna keep the players returning from loan. Instead this summer, they brought in six players and only 2 this January, with three heading out the exit door, two of them permanently. Their decline is no mystery; anyone who really contemplated their situation knew this would happen. Look at Newcastle’s fall from 5th to 16th as a result Europa League qualification a few years back. Without added squad depth, this happens.

Eleven players departed this summer! Once again, how many did Leicester sign to replace them? Six! YES THEY NEEDED MORE DEPTH AND INSTEAD ENDED UP WITH LESS THAN LAST SEASON! Only 9 of those 11 were first team players and many of that number had been on loan last season, but the fact remains; Leicester did not nearly sign enough players.

I wrote on my blog last May that they needed to sign a full 11, even before Kante left. With the departure of Kante they might as well have needed to sign 3 extra players to replace him. The inability of Leicester’s transfer staff to recognize the dire necessity of signing new players is dumbfounding. THIS TEAM USED THE FEWEST NUMBER OF PLAYERS IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE LAST YEAR! THAT SAME TEAM HAD TO PLAY SIX MORE GAMES AT LEAST THIS SEASON! THIS DOESN’T ADD UP! It doesn’t take a genius to see where this all went wrong. It’s easy to not rotate players when you play far fewer games. Leicester could very well end up playing more than double digit more games than they did last season. They were never prepared to do so.

Jon Rudkin and the rest of his staff have done an appalling job preparing the club for this season. Any self-respecting football manager aficionado could have done better. Perhaps their most notable departure this past summer was Steve Walsh. If they maintain their current momentum next year Leicester may well again be crowned champions, but this time of the Championship.

Chapecoense, Munich, and Manchester United

On Wednesday a horrible tragedy befell the footballing world, when nearly all of Brazilian club Chapecoense’s first team perished in a plane crash. The small club, who were promoted in 2014 to the Brazilian first division for the first time, were traveling for the Copa Sudamerica finals. Suddenly, shockingly, and so tragically, the “Brazilian Leicester’s season transformed from a dreamlike run to a nightmare.

Another club once suffered a similar fate on their run towards a European final. That club was Manchester United. That Manchester United Team led by Matt Busby was exceptionally talented and determined to win a European trophy. Real madrid patriarch, Santiago Bernabeu, who was at the time a friend of Busby’s and admirer of his ambition and had tried to recruit him to Real Madrid, came to the aid of Manchester United after the Munich Air disaster.

this-one-of-the-busby-babes
The Manchester United team pictured before their last game against Red Star Belgrade.

Real Madrid held fundraisers, played friendlies to raise money, and even offered to loan the great DiStefano (his move was blocked by the fa but Real Madrid were willing to part with a star player for an entire season). Real Madrid’s kindness even paved the way for Manchester United to beat them on the path to a European Cup several years later. Bernabeu and Real Madrid accepted it as graciously as possible. Manchester United benefited tremendously from this benevolence and it allowed the club to continue on, avoid relegation, and eventually reach the same heights the club had before the crash.

Now in the aftermath of the wreckage, Manchester United should embrace the very same ethos that Real Madrid had previously to sustain them after Munich. The Brazilian Club needs their help; they need the help of the world. While well-wishing tweets on Twitter certainly don’t hurt, they also don’t particularly help. Worldwide clubs have to do more to support Chapecoense.

Manchester United are now the world’s richest club, and so there is almost a quasi necessity that they help. Having undergone a similar situation in their own history, Manchester United should do the very things Real Madrid did to support them. They should raise and donate money furthermore, considering their squad depth and wealth of playing talent, they should be willing to loan players. United even have a promising Brazilian themselves: Andres Pereira. He could certainly use the could use some competitive first team minutes. No one is mandating that they loan Pogba. But considering the low number of minutes Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and even Wayne Rooney have played this year, they could even provide one of those players. At the very least, Man United ought to loan someone like Andres Pereira or another high-level youth player. Chapecoense lost their entire first team, so for next year, if they want to be competitive, they need to replace the quality players that helped then reach a continental final.

Other Brazilian clubs have already offered to loan them high-quality players at no cost. Manchester United have benefited previously from the generous support of a club that had no mandate help them. Such charity is the true spirit of football and having benefited so greatly from that support themselves, it is almost an obligation that Manchester United help Chapecoense get back on track.  Even a fundraising friendly would significantly help them in their road to recovery. Ronaldinho is reportedly going to play to suit up to assist the club, but in order to stay competitive in a quite competitive Brazilian Serie A, some support in the form of personnel from Manchester United would certainly be a great help.

Manchester United, survived in part because of Real Madrid’s assistance in their time of need now the time has come for them to step up and do the same.

Revisiting the Promotion / Relegation ‘Hamilton Plan’ for Washington

A brilliant blueprint for how American Soccer can be expanded, in every state, to encompass numerous levels and hundreds of thousands of more players. Such a merit-based system ensures that the best rises to the top and our nation’s overall quality continue to improve.

goalWA.net

Editor’s Preface: Over three years ago Timothy Hamilton shared not only  a dream but a plan for adult men’s soccer in the state of Washington. As Hamilton was using his graphic talents in helping to launch the Evergreen Premier League (he designed the EPLWA logo) his mind was on what dreams may come.

eplwa-600-cropThree years later the Evergreen Premier League remains officially unconnected to any other state league. Wenatchee FC recently folded and a search is underway for a club to get the league back to 8. Meanwhile there were discussions about creating an “EPLWA 2” sort of league beneath the EPLWA that would have allowed statewide play for growing clubs to WSASA Logoprepare for higher play and travel. At some point such a league might have been under consideration as a partner for the EPLWA in promotion and relegation. The EPLWA AGM in Yakima on November 4 revealed that…

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