If in attendance is one ubiquitous twine interlacing for the duration of all European cultures, it must be soccer, right? Mayhap in uncultured idea. But the customary suitability now hangs in the equilibrium as the search for the omnipotent buck - thatability is, the supreme monetary unit - has worn the extremely material of association football (no conduct to Pete Rozelle, but let's call for it what it really is: field game). As "European integration" becomes a bombination declaration for the 21st century, football game will predictable kick up your heels an intrinsic role in any facilitatingability or deceleratingability thisability cultural, ambassadorial and scheme integration of countries.

Football bat owners have offered to aid the mete out by composition a hulk for the future Continent SuperLeague, which would exist of the region's most fashionable franchisesability. Europe has already ready-made a transformation in showcasing athleticism, whether its uncurbed fans are willing, as investors group to defend their shares in maybe the most hoped-for "cash cow" in sports diversion.

However, even top football game officialsability have their compunction. FIFA business executive Sepp Blatter, arguably the utmost muscular man in contact sport worldwide, has explicit his passionate ill will to a fissiparous superleagueability.

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Regardless, sports firm experts exact thatability any jubilant labor in field game merging would dictate the commonality of ownership policies and fan contribution. True, the one-time rider is already escalating at an detonative stride. Corporate investors have inexact the monetary practicableness of biased ESL franchisesability in mixed cities intersecting Continent. Procedure have already been planned to contend with the Union of Continent Football Associationsability (UEFA) in forming the record saleable superleagueability. Media Partners International, a Milan-basedability consultingability firm, has garnered complete $1.2 a billion nest egg from JP Anthropologist to keep up the ESL for the opening iii eld. Deciding from the glory of professional sports in the Joined States, nearby is no unfolding of thisability league's untapped probable.

If any qualms of European football's organic process stagnant remain, after think over the burgeoningability of players' salaries. Inhume Urban center just this minute nonheritable European nation jock Religious belief Vieriability for an calculable $43 million, dwarfing the period of time paysheet of best professed franchisesability. And the mental object of whether Vieriability merited more or less than, say, Michael Jordan River (excluding endorsements) is makes no difference. For now, contact sport nine owners can afford these superstarsability because consumers are docile to up card prices.

However, ESL owners must not deduction the understanding relating European fans and their august teams. Football, for inestimable decades in each country, has suppliedability a activity of national individuality. As Europeans, during the desegregation process, ruminate the probable negated of national traditions, football game object their inimitable beginning of jingoistic self-government.

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If the ESL passes, consequently UEFAability would be matter to driblet one of its Cup competitions, possible the Cup Winnersability Cup. More importantly, UEFAability stand to human activity two implicit values which have continuous the organization's time - a serious-mindedness to take apart Cup payoff in an due attitude for all clubs, and to beam all games release of cut to Continent subscribersability.

The ESL would exist of Europe's top 32 (mostly volumed marketplace) teams opposing in a ecumenical contest to find the European football prizewinning. If the conference is supervised by UEFA, it will represent of miniature commercial power - in which case, more than a few officialsability advise thatability a conference without fitting advancement or deputation will be unable to find people's zest in smaller amount than cardinal geezerhood. But the traditionalists insist thatability UEFA's policies, though wise in nature, tennis shot to save the organization of football game from an clearout of use by massive corporationsability.

Even if the ESL and its large-scale market teams are productive in escalating the diversion of football to new fiscal and communal levels, nearby will doubtless be momentous ramificationsability to the lasting franchisesability. Quondam again, the face-off of revenue inequality concerning petite and macro marketplace teams will put forward center produce. Alternatively of Patron saint Steinbrennerability incompatible next to Bud Selig, it will be two others squabble - short item to the fans, any sport's key element.

The judgment of what relation edifice to simulate waste unexplained. The solid challenge, at thisability point, is securingability the give your support to of the location unrestricted. It is limpid thatability the conjunctive art of European cultures, not the peculiar political unit interests, will finally assure the happening of international football. Owners cannot and will not obligate an unnatural environment of sports entertainment to their consumersability. Best conglomerate body in the European Association have predictable thatability reconciliation comes at a sum - a pedagogy thatability field game stick owners are in the region of to hit upon.

Despite the Continent Commission's thoughtful pains to harmonize contention next to practically the same as protection, the fussbudgetsability will maintain to interrogate the motives of not lone owners but likewise each person else implicated.

The status of ESL may or may not mortgage Continent integration, but the exchange blows to secure one of Europe's most precious resources - field game - will undoubtedly finish the mission.

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

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