The European football realm has taken a brand new turn with BT Sport announcing an exclusive £897million three-year deal to broadcast live Champions League and Europa League football matches from 2015.
What this simply means is that Premier League clubs who are playing in the Champions League will financially pull away from those not competing in the tournament and closing that gap will be very difficult with the new Financial Fair Play rules.
To give you an idea of the money involved here, The Independent quotes:
“The Champions’ League already distorts competition. Inequalities will inevitably be magnified, because, as part of a complicated formula involving performance and TV income calculated on a national basis, the four English qualifiers stand to share up to €180m (£150m). To put that into perspective, Chelsea received €60m for winning in 2012.”
So for just qualifying for the Champions League, Liverpool can go on to pocket a share of that £150million which is £37.50million, now what more if the side goes on to get out of the group stages and make a run to the final. We are talking about some serious cash here up for grabs!
Liverpool have not played in the Champions League since 2010 and the effects are being felt financially and also on the team. Just this summer we missed out on making some good transfer signings because we could not offer the new players Champions League football whilst the teams in the Champions League are raking in big money from competing and able to lure quality players.
When FSG purchased Liverpool, getting the team back into the Champions League was their many priority and now with this new BT deal, I am sure there is even greater emphasis now to get a piece of that £897million pie. FSG are not the type of owners to just splash out the cash willy-nilly, we have already seen that, but rather they are trying to run Liverpool as a self sustaining business which is a great principle. But the key for this to happen is to finish in the top four, period!
Currently Liverpool have made a good start to the season and lie second in the table, just two points off top placed Arsenal. Whilst it is a very open title race this season, Liverpool’s main focus should still be to finish in the top four and anything else would be a bonus. The side must not get distracted by title talk at this stage. Whilst the other teams vying for a top four finish have European football to contend with this season, Liverpool only have the Premier League and FA Cup to focus on, meaning that players should be a lot fitter and fresher than the competitors. Come January, it would be great for Liverpool to add one or two quality players to help sustain the top four finish for this season. There are enough squad and fringe players at the club, we now need players to come in who can make an instant impact on the starting lineup.
One can see why Arsenal celebrate finishing in the top four every year as if they have won the league. With the money at stake in just qualifying for the Champions League, it should be incentive enough to drive any squad to want to finish in the top four.
For Liverpool, a top four finish would not only mean greater financial reward but it will grant the club the elite status that they so richly deserved. As five time winners of the European Cup (Champions League), it is time to make it back into the ‘big boys’ tournament and actually go out there and win it.