Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Poll: Should Europa League winners gain Champions League berth?

Posted in European Football by peterbein on February 16, 2011

It is a question which many have asked for a while but which UEFA seemingly wish to ignore for the time being. Nevertheless it is an important issue which surrounds the future existance of European football’s two major comeptitions. Should the winners of the UEFA Europa League gain an automatic berth into the following season’s UEFA Champions League?

Atlético de Madrid

Should Europa League winners earn a place in the following year's Champions League?

After all such a system is now in place in South America. CA Independiente, the winners of the 2010 Copa Sudamericana, were given a place in the qualifying rounds of the 2011 Copa Libertadores and saw off the challenge of Ecuadorians Deportivo Quito in order to obtain their place in Group 8 where they face compatriots Godoy Cruz, CA Peñarol and LDU Quito in the league stage. Many have argued that such a system could also work in Europe especially as many see the UEFA Europa League as a distinct second-rate tournament in which many coaches send out second string teams in order to preserve their top stars for more pressing domestic concerns. If there were to be the carrot of a UEFA Champions League place up for grabs then would it make coaches put out their strongest team every game? The likelihood is that coaches would indeed put their best team out given that, as well as a trophy, there is the future guarantee of increased prize money from participation in Europe’s top competition with the chance to compete against the very best that European football has to offer.


Independiente gained a place in the Copa Libertadores following their Sudamericana triumph

Critics of this system will point out that the 2010 Copa Sudamericana final was fought for by two teams who were very much struggling domestically and whose league positions wouldn’t have seen them get anywhere near qualifying for the Libertadores. Brazilian side Goiás had already confirmed their relegation to the second division before the Sudamericana final kicked off against an Independiente side who finished bottom of Argentina’s Torneo Apertura. Seeing as the South American football calendar is every bit as congested as its European equivalent then coaches would be under pressure to forsake certain tournaments for the benefit of others if the short-term rewards outweigh any ideals towards long-term development.

It’s an interesting debate which Stoppage Time – International Football Blog would like to hear your views about. Vote in the box above and share your comments with our readers in the space below.

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