Organisation & structure

The Premier League is taking itself too seriously according to the Spanish media, reports Phil Ball

Official Spanish response to the 39th game has been muted, to say the least. This may be due to several factors, but chief among them is that Angel Villar, the immovable president of the Spanish Federation for the past 20 years, has other more urgent things on his plate, such as the hostility of FIFA, rival gangs of candidates for his job, and all manner of accusations ranging from corruption to the showing of favouritism to his much loved Athletic Bilbao.

Paul Joyce reports on Germany's reaction to the Game 39 proposals

Support for Richard Scudamore’s 39th step has been non-existent in the German media. “Why do they still bother playing in England at all?” asked the left-wing newspaper Taz. “They may as well sell the whole circus to south-east Asia and put up giant screens in English stadiums.” The Berlin-based daily Der Tagesspiegel saw the Premier League’s expansionism as part of a post-Empire identity crisis: “While many Englishmen view this internationalisation as a stigma, they profit from it financially and it forms the basis of their sporting success. And the English are proud of this success.”

Graham Dunbar reports on the formation of the European Club Association

Eight years after its creation, the G-14 is dead: long live the European Club Association. It was created at UEFA headquarters in January and hailed by its elected chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge of Bayern Munich, as nothing less than the “reunification of the football family”.

Dianne Millen reports on an attempted Scottish breakaway

Reports of the demise of the Scottish Football League (SFL) appear greatly exaggerated. Member clubs have overwhelmingly rejected the controversial proposal to create a second Scottish Premier League division – imaginatively entitled “SPL2”.

A pan-European league is never far off the agenda. What would the world look like if it ever happened? Adam Powley considers

“We have flirted with hell,” said Arsène Wenger, speaking of his club’s recent dalliance with life outside of the Champions League qualification positions. It is this kind of thinking – that the Champions League is the be-all and end-all – that has underpinned the latest rumours concerning a European Super League. The plot is a familiar one: murmurs of shady meetings between the various Mr Bigs of G-14, suggestions and then denials from Brussels politicians, and off-the-record briefings reported as plans set in stone.

The SFA are looking at restructuring non-League football. Neil Forsyth reports

As seven non-League clubs take to the field in the Scottish Cup second round on December 9, they will signify more than the ever-lessening gap between the cream of Scottish non-League and the nether regions of the professional ranks. Their appearance and the now annual forays of such outfits to this stage and beyond seem to have finally forced football here to confront its increasingly unjustifiable closed-shop status.

Steve Menary examines the possibility of a Scottish Premier League Two and the ramifications it could have

Does Scotland need a second premier league? The Scottish Premier League (SPL) was formed as a protectionist dash to ring-fence cash and crush rumours that the Old Firm would play elsewhere. Now, clubs in the first division of the Scottish Football League (SFL) want even more protection.

It's 20 years since automatic promotion blurred the distinction between the League and Conference. Roger Titford charts the acceptance of what at the time was a revolutionary step

Twenty years ago Torquay and Preston finished in the bottom two places in the Football League. Both were re-elected, along with Exeter and Cambridge. Then the re-election process itself was voted out and replaced by automatic relegation to the Conference, ending almost a century of tradition. Election and re-election had always been fundamental to the League. The clubs had always chosen their fellow-members rather than admitted them through any public demand or involuntary mechanism. Yet the possibility of new member clubs existed from the very first season, 1888-89, when the bottom four, in a League of only 12, had to reapply. All were successful, as so often would later be the case, including Notts County who this season finished perilously close to the relegation line.

As the divisions change names again, Tom Davies listened to those championing the Championship and came away unimpressed

 S  o goodbye Nationwide League Divisions One, Two and Three, hello Coca-Cola Championship and Leagues One and Two. The Football League’s name changes have attracted so much ridicule that to deride them already feels too much like indulging in a fish-in-a-barrel shooting contest.

Many object to Sepp Blatter’s plan to cut the number of teams in Europe’s top divisions to 16, but Roger Titford is keen to examine the full horror of what the plan would entail

Last month FIFA president Sepp Blatter had another go at flying one of his favourite kites – reducing all Europe’s top divisions to 16 clubs each. Even Arsenal, usually so protective of how many games their delicate flowers have to play, spoke out against the idea. So universal is the condemnation that few have paused to consider in detail what a 16-club top division would mean. In England (and also Spain) it would mean a lot less top division football – 240 games in total instead of 380; that’s a 37 per cent reduction. As recently as 1994-95 the Premiership offered 462 fixtures. Reducing the number of clubs makes the league competition both much smaller and more occasional – more gaps for international weeks and quite possibly a mid-winter break too.

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