8. Don’t forget the women
We have to mention women’s soccer, though how low down the list it is indicates where it lies in our priorities. Women’s soccer should continue to be an afterthought, modeled entirely on the men’s game — regardless of whether the men’s game functions effectively or not — because who has the time to think about it more deeply than that?
Any team that slips in status should face financial ruin. The constituent clubs of the Champions League would, ideally, be indistinguishable from one year to the next. Teams relegated from the Premier League should be handed parachute payments that essentially ensure they return immediately, but everyone should continue to pretend there is a pyramid that allows for near-impossible organic growth.
10. Respect for the law
Teams that break the flimsy financial rules we put in place should not be punished. Instead, craven organizations should let them off with piecemeal fines, subtly affirming that you can do what you want as long as you are rich enough. Clubs and leagues should claim to be self-policing, rejecting any oversight, despite all of the evidence to the contrary.
These 10 alternative principles, of course, are the obstacle that a superleague — or anyone proposing radical change to the status quo — must overcome. Reichart has to explain his ideas. He has to put them into an action plan. He has to try to make them palatable. He has to persuade people to come over to his vision.
Whether that vision has much merit is open to question. Its one concrete suggestion — a broad, league-based tournament sitting above the domestic competitions — is at best a matter of taste. Subjectively, a European superleague seems a downgrade on the Champions League’s current arrangement, but it is probably no worse than the so-called Swiss model set to come into force next year. (It does, oddly, work far better as a paradigm for how to grow women’s soccer in Europe, even though it clearly cares little for that aspect of the game.)
The problem with criticizing new proposals is that nobody ever has to outline the alternative. None of the alphabet soup of governing bodies and lobbying groups ever have to explain where they think the game is going; how they envision its future; how they plan to address the blindingly obvious flaws in the “model that is not broken and does not need to be fixed,” the ones that — as UEFA’s own financial report, released on Friday, noted — have made soccer increasingly reliant on capital injections from owners and turning a blind eye to mounting debts.