During the press conference before Leeds United’s game at Crystal Palace, Manager Marcelo Bielsa stated his doubts regarding a very relevant topic in modern football.
Firstly, while speaking about the decline in the running stats of his side as compared to last season, the Argentine said, “The calendar is so overcharged it doesn’t bear in mind the development of the preparation.”
Then he expressed concern regarding the future of the Beautiful Game saying, “That’s why I have serious doubts over the future of professional football because it is constantly commercialized and the product every time is constantly worse.”
Bielsa’s comments carry a lot of truth in them. The rapid commercialization of football is real and prevalent in our beloved game today. A prime example is the advent of the European Super League.
Twelve of the most powerful clubs in world football threatened to break away and create an exclusive competition, the incentive being more revenue brought about by the blockbuster contests fans would get every week.
The heavyweight clubs were merely fueled by greed and of course, gave no concern to the development of football at a grassroots level or just how detrimental an exclusive competition could be for other clubs who deserve to be there based on merit.
UEFA came off almost as a victim from this saga, their hypocrisy, however, is also apparent, the ‘Swiss Model’ which will come into effect from 2024 in the Champions League will result in an almost two-fold increase in matches played as the amount jumps from 125 to 225.
🗣”It brings me great sadness how football is deteriorating.”— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 30, 2021
Marcelo Bielsa says he has serious doubts over the future of professional football pic.twitter.com/qQgHBDzUC2
The reason remains the same, more matches mean more money.
Footballers and managers alike continue to voice their disapproval at the hectic and exhausting schedules they endure already, with the ‘Swiss Model’ yet to come into effect.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino recently shared the possibility of the World Cup being held every 2 years stating that it would help more nations qualify.
Considering the amount of corruption that surrounds the organization, this comes off as hard to fathom. The World Cup is a lucrative event and holding it every 2 years can certainly result in more revenue which perhaps is the real motivator.
Taking all these developments into consideration Bielsa’s statement regarding the product rings true.
Iconic competitions like the World Cup and the Uefa Champions League hold such high regard due to the spectacle they bring about.
A European night involving 2 heavyweights from different corners of the continent is a momentous occasion in part due to its rarity, the event would lose its lustre if it was simply a routine fixture every week.
Every 4 years the world unites in the festival that is the World Cup, it is a majestic time, and holding it every 2 years would lead to a slow burnout.
The future of football is clouded with uncertainty, greed and Americanization seem to be at the forefront at the moment due to ideas such as the Super League.
However, the sheer passion of football fans exemplified by the protests following the Super League announcement offers hope.