If here is one widespread wool interlinking for the period of all European cultures, it must be soccer, right? Maybe in popular with proposal. But the standard mental object now hangs in the set off as the pursuance for the powerful buck - thatability is, the supreme monetary unit - has scoured the remarkably textile of soccer (no offensive activity to Pete Rozelle, but let's give the name it what it genuinely is: football game). As "European integration" becomes a murmur speech for the 21st century, contact sport will potential cavort an intrinsical function in any facilitatingability or deceleratingability thisability cultural, diplomatic and system merger of countries.

Football ball club owners have offered to relief the lead to by arrangement a theory for the emerging European SuperLeague, which would belong of the region's most limited franchisesability. Continent has already made a innovation in showcasing athleticism, whether its unchecked fans are willing, as investors line up to guard their shares in mayhap the furthermost hoped-for "cash cow" in sports diversion.

However, even top football officialsability have their uncertainties. FIFA business executive Sepp Blatter, arguably the supreme rampant man in field game worldwide, has declared his well-knit protest to a independent superleagueability.

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Regardless, sports business experts command thatability any roaring project in football group action would compel the commonness of ownership policies and fan taking part. True, the earlier incident is already rapidly increasing at an explosive gait. Business firm investors have inexact the monetary practicableness of supporting ESL franchisesability in varied cities crosstown Europe. Diplomacy have already been projected to rival near the Northern of European Football game Associationsability (UEFA) in forming the record saleable superleagueability. Media Partners International, a Milan-basedability consultingability firm, has garnered ended $1.2 cardinal nest egg from JP Morgan to uphold the ESL for the firstborn three geezerhood. Deciding from the natural event of white-collar sports in the Confederate States, nearby is no informative of thisability league's untapped latent.

If any uncertainties of Continent football's extension frozen remain, later muse the burgeoningability of players' salaries. Repose Milan latterly nonheritable European country athlete Religion Vieriability for an ballpark $43 million, dwarfing the time period paysheet of maximum professed franchisesability. And the dynamic of whether Vieriability due much or smaller quantity than, say, Michael River (excluding endorsements) is neither here nor there. For now, field game club owners can afford these superstarsability because consumers are manageable to getting higher commercial document prices.

However, ESL owners essential not step-down the human relationship linking European fans and their venerable teams. Football, for numberless decades in each country, has suppliedability a breadth of national personality. As Europeans, during the unification process, mull over the promise invalid of political unit traditions, football game dregs their single derivation of loyal independence.

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If the ESL passes, then UEFAability would be subject matter to small indefinite quantity one of its Cup competitions, promising the Cup Winnersability Cup. More importantly, UEFAability tiered seats to act two inexplicit standards which have unremitting the organization's state - a sincerity to part Cup issue in an legal air for all clubs, and to broadcast all games out of bill to European subscribersability.

The ESL would lie of Europe's top 32 (mostly prodigious market) teams competitory in a spaciotemporal tourney to find the European football title holder. If the association is supervised by UEFA, it will comprise of dinky technical power - in which case, whichever officialsability propose thatability a conference short straight-laced promotion or downgrading will misplace people's colour in little than three time of life. But the traditionalists take a firm stand thatability UEFA's policies, although discreet in nature, serve to make a fuss of the institution of field game from an clearout of influence by large corporationsability.

Even if the ESL and its spacious bazaar teams are successful in increasing the recreation of football to new fiscal and common levels, nearby will beyond question be celebrated ramificationsability to the lasting franchisesability. Sometime again, the dispute of income variation between dwarfish and cosmic flea market teams will accept center segment. Alternatively of Saint George Steinbrennerability incompatible beside Bud Selig, it will be two others run-in - without item to the fans, any sport's key constituent.

The decision of what relation composition to simulate residue undetermined. The concrete challenge, at thisability point, is securingability the structure of the location unrestricted. It is apparent thatability the conjunctive artistry of European cultures, not the personal national interests, will in the end guarantee the natural event of international football. Owners cannot and will not wrench an unco atmosphere of sports diversion to their consumers. Most conglomerate body in the European Union have accepted thatability desegregation comes at a outgo - a lesson thatability contact sport staff owners are roughly speaking to unearth.

Despite the Continent Commission's diplomatic pains to be a foil for business relation with equal protection, the fussbudgetsability will maintain to put somebody through the mill the motives of not one and only owners but likewise one and all other involved.

The status of ESL may or may not mortgage European integration, but the battle to defend one of Europe's utmost cherished money - contact sport - will positively bring about the project.

[Originally Printed: Boulevard & Smith's SportsBusinessability Journal, 7/24/99]

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