English Premier League Proposes Shake-up

After toying (was it really two years ago?) with the idea of a 39th game in Asia, the Premier League in England appears to have come up with a possibly quite useful suggestion for shaking things up and making them a little bit more interesting: Play-offs for the fourth Champions League spot that England gets.

The teams finishing 4th to 7th would enter a play-off competition with the winners going into the Champions League, and presumably the runners up heading into the Europe League.

This is apparently a suggestion to break up the dominance of the so-called Big Four in England – Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool – who have dominated the last decade in English football.

I have to admit, it wouldn’t be my suggestion for shaking up things at the top – that would be to limit squad sizes. It would seem to me that such a proposal wouldn’t necessarily affect Man United and Chelsea, who are the really dominant sides at the top of the Premiership, and instead affect Arsenal and Liverpool, who have more usually taken up 3rd and 4th in the top four over the years.

It would also take things away from something I think should be cherished about European football versus North American sports – the league system, and its ascendency in determining team quality, rather than one-off big games like the Superbowl and play-off finals, where often anything can (and does) happen. But then, the latter is entertaining, and if Manchester United keeps winning the Premiership every season, things will get pretty boring. I guess some change is better than no change…

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