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Thread: Belgian clubs vote for merger with Dutch League

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    Belgian clubs vote for merger with Dutch League

    A very interesting development yesterday as Belgian football clubs voted to merge with the Dutch league.

    There's still much to be done before thr BeNe league is a reality, but it is starting to feel like only a matter of time now. And once one set of small neighbouring leagues in Europe combines, others will doubtless follow.

    Has implications for us re the All-Ireland League idea.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/...18031.html?amp

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    Seasoned Pro Nesta99's Avatar
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    A few thoughts EYG, as you know in much better detail the circumstances of this and id be intersted in your opinion and maybe could banish my skepticism. It's interesting all right. Not just for a potential All-Ireland league but if UEFA sanction it its a precedence that they would have been reluctant to set, and at a time where there are threats about players being restricted from international football if the big clubs head toward a European super league. Does it start the blurring the lines between different national associations and leagues and something that UEFA feared and wanted to head off with the restructuring of the CL, qualification on the basis of historical performances and allowing an elite group permanent access regardless of domestic performance etc. That flies in the face of a national association allocating European slots?

    The lines were already blurred for an all-island league here, politically where eg there may have been pressure to allow something that would help underpin a peace process. This is different and about creating a league that could be have more financial clout and hence competitiveness in Europe, along with then the finances filtering down and all under the guise of financial stability for all.

    Is it more Belgian driven? As things stand couldnt both leagues' clubs cut their cloth to improve stability. They are relatively well supported leagues, are not niche in their own countries, have good stadia and established brands etc. Like any league these vary from haves to have not clubs of course. Should regional European leagues be given a sniff due to the risks longer term risks eg a Celtic league minus the Old Firm?

    Larger leagues are operating unsustainably where its a matter of time before clubs implode and rebalancing happens. The pressure clubs are putting on UEFA I think indicates that some are very worried, so UEFA could take a stance and reel in some of the clubs' clout. This pandemic is possibly a catalyst were even the EPL wobbled with TV deals not being fulfilled for a spell. Barcelona 1billion in debt, wages at 75% of budget and an aging key asset that's out of contract soon etc. Maybe before sanctioning something thats pretty radical for UEFA applying things like salary cap protocols, taking action on issues like crazy player wages. The more money in the Dutch/Belgian game the more they will spend themselves back in to trouble eventually. Not a reason not to head this direction but that its another sticking plaster on much wider issues?
    Last edited by Nesta99; 18/03/2021 at 12:32 AM.

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    Youth Team Kiki Balboa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EatYerGreens View Post
    A very interesting development yesterday as Belgian football clubs voted to merge with the Dutch league.

    There's still much to be done before thr BeNe league is a reality, but it is starting to feel like only a matter of time now. And once one set of small neighbouring leagues in Europe combines, others will doubtless follow.

    Has implications for us re the All-Ireland League idea.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/...18031.html?amp

    What is most interesting here for an All-Ireland league is how the European spots will be divided and how many they look for.

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    Seasoned Pro sbgawa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiki Balboa View Post
    What is most interesting here for an All-Ireland league is how the European spots will be divided and how many they look for.
    This 100% if UEFA leave the same number of spots the AIL will become a reality sooner rather than later.

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    Youth Team GUFCghost's Avatar
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    It feels a lot like rearranging the chairs on the titanic.
    The fundamental problem is the same one in every other industry. There's too much money at the top and it's not be distributed at the bottom. We could have properly competetive European football again like we did in the 90s if we charged higher affiliation fees for big clubs or dramatically changed how prize money is distributed, but that won't happen. The big clubs will just take their ball and leave, and I'm not sure why they haven't just done that already. What follows is all just idle speculation till that gets sorted:

    I wonder what clubs have had their potential held back by a lack of decent competition. A Nordic league might turn FC Copenhagen into the next Ajax through higher revenue and exposure to better teams week in week out.

    The thought in Ireland always turns to an All-Island league, I think a Celtic league is also worth thinking about. It might be unlikely, but I think a league between Scotland, Ireland and Wales could be great. Especially if the Welsh clubs playing in England are involved. If the Irish clubs raise their game to meet the Welsh and the Scots, it could be highly beneficial for both Ireland and Wales. A club like Swansea would have to choose between the odd 5 year spell in the Premier League, or basically permanent status in a league of similar standard to the championship. The old firm would be tougher to convince, their big fish small pond status could be gone.
    oh boy I'm not good at football forums

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    A league with Swansea, Cardiff, Hearts, Dundee, League of Wales, Irish League and LoI teams is in no way even remotely comparable to the Championship.

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    Youth Team GUFCghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    A league with Swansea, Cardiff, Hearts, Dundee, League of Wales, Irish League and LoI teams is in no way even remotely comparable to the Championship.
    Swansea
    Cardiff
    Rangers
    Celtic
    Motherwell
    Aberdeen
    Shamrock Rovers
    Dundalk
    Linfield
    Aberdeen

    There's a ten team league that I'd say is fairly comparable to the Championship. A qualification system could be devised that weighs the first league heavily toward teams from Scotland, with promotion/relegation balancing it out from there
    oh boy I'm not good at football forums

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    Quote Originally Posted by GUFCghost View Post
    Swansea
    Cardiff
    Rangers
    Celtic
    Motherwell
    Aberdeen
    Shamrock Rovers
    Dundalk
    Linfield
    Aberdeen

    There's a ten team league that I'd say is fairly comparable to the Championship. A qualification system could be devised that weighs the first league heavily toward teams from Scotland, with promotion/relegation balancing it out from there
    Given that Northern clubs complain about the thought of having to go to Cork or Waterford once a season for a game, the idea of them having to step on a plane for every other away fixture makes this suggestion a very expensive non-starter.

    Plus - Swansea and Cardiff regularly vie for entry into the English Premier League - which is an absolute goldmine. Why the hell would they want to give that up to play in Dundalk or Aberdeen ?

    As for the Scottish clubs - the idea of including Motherwell (shi-te this season) and not either of the Edinburgh clubs is just silly.

    Not that it matters as this won't be happening for any foreseeable future. An all-island league is hard enough to get going as it is.

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    Besides, Bohs could never justify the air travel

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GUFCghost View Post
    Swansea
    Cardiff
    Rangers
    Celtic
    Motherwell
    Aberdeen
    Shamrock Rovers
    Dundalk
    Linfield
    Aberdeen

    There's a ten team league that I'd say is fairly comparable to the Championship.
    Not even remotely close. The Championship is one of the best-attended leagues in the world. There are huge TV deals and parachute payments to fund clubs. You don't drop out of that to play Linfield FFS. None of the bottom six teams in that would stand the slightest chance in the Championship.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Not even remotely close. The Championship is one of the best-attended leagues in the world. There are huge TV deals and parachute payments to fund clubs. You don't drop out of that to play Linfield FFS. None of the bottom six teams in that would stand the slightest chance in the Championship.
    With more money in a unified league, the standard would come up somewhat, but I agree. Transport costs make this Celtic league unlikely to be viable.

    That said, if UEFA open Pandora's box here, there could be a race to mergers among smaller leagues across Europe. Scale is what's required to compete with the bigger leagues.
    Covid-negative, maybe; I haven't checked.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    That's a huge chicken and egg scenario though. The money might arrive if Swansea/Celtic/Rangers/Cardiff join. But if they don't join, the money won't be there, so there's no point joining.

    I think mergers will only really work if the leagues are a comparable size (like Belgium/Holland, or Czech Republic/Slovakia, or maybe some of the Balkans) The disparity between the clubs in this example is way too large to work. The LoI has nothing to offer the bigger Scottish/Welsh sides.

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    Seasoned Pro sbgawa's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be a great conversation over a pint in a Pub.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    That's a huge chicken and egg scenario though. The money might arrive if Swansea/Celtic/Rangers/Cardiff join. But if they don't join, the money won't be there, so there's no point joining.

    I think mergers will only really work if the leagues are a comparable size (like Belgium/Holland, or Czech Republic/Slovakia, or maybe some of the Balkans) The disparity between the clubs in this example is way too large to work. The LoI has nothing to offer the bigger Scottish/Welsh sides.
    Aside from its general #greatestleagueintheworld escapades of course.
    Yo no soy marinero. Soy capitan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    I think mergers will only really work if the leagues are a comparable size (like Belgium/Holland, or Czech Republic/Slovakia, or maybe some of the Balkans) The disparity between the clubs in this example is way too large to work. The LoI has nothing to offer the bigger Scottish/Welsh sides.
    I'd disagree with that. Any initial disparity can be mostly overcome within years of joining a cross-border league, regardless of the delta. With all clubs receiving the same millions in prizemoney, we'd would quickly catch up. Ireland has big population centres which equates to big potential. We're a football mad country which currently imports it all. There's enormous potential waiting to be unlocked!

    Its worth noting that the current Belgian Pro League and Dutch Eredivisie TV deals signed recently are worth about €90-100m each. The TV money projected to be on offer from a new BeNe league featuring the top 8-10 sides from each is roughly €400m.

    The interest and value doesn't project as linearly as you would expect. Even pessimistically. cross-border/celtic league would generate more than the current sum of its current constituents. Mergers always work, regardless of size. Market forces seem to dictate it.
    Last edited by Buller; 23/03/2021 at 1:58 PM.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Linfield, Rovers, etc could catch up in a decade if given a few million quid each a year, sure.

    But the point is that at the moment the disparity is so large that there's no way Swansea/Cardiff/Rangers/Celtic would bother getting into bed together, and that's a huge stumbling block.

    It's why I think it'll work better with leagues that are more closely aligned (and/or have some existing rivalry, maybe from having been the same country in Communist times).

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post

    But the point is that at the moment the disparity is so large that there's no way Swansea/Cardiff/Rangers/Celtic would bother getting into bed together, and that's a huge stumbling block.
    Yeah they all definitely have a fixed focus on the Premier League promised land.

    The old Atlantic League proposal with (Scotland + Norway + Sweden + Denmark + Ireland) would be the only thing that would tempt Celtic/Rangers. And with that, Ireland would probably only be given 1 or 2 places. Don't know how much benefit that would be to us unless the LOI got a solidarity payoff every year from it.

    I do think cross-border leagues are the obvious way forward for small and medium european leagues finding it increasingly harder to compete with the top leagues. IL + LOI would have definitely worked financially, off the field is another matter. Celtic/Rangers may be forced into something other than trying to join the EPL if BeNe league comes to pass.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    That sounds more reasonable alright, although I don't really see what even Rovers/Dundalk could offer an Atlantic League. Remember there was a Royal League for three years (DEN/SWE/NOR) and it was cancelled for lack of funding. Saying the IL/LoI would "definitely have worked financially" is something I wouldn't be too sure about given the figures being talked about - I could easily see it going the same way and then there's big problems (though I agree with the idea in general)

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    Cups like these demonstrate very little.

    Royal League was basically their Setanta Cup, a cup competition characterised by a very low prizemoney to amount of games ratio. First year of Setanta Cup nearly had comparable prizemoney to the Royal League which says it all.

    Prizemoney is always absolutely key. For the Royal League cup, TV/sponsorship were not willing to take a risk on a competition which is going to be nowhere near the main focus for clubs, which already had 3 other more lucrative competitions to compete in. So if the initial prizemoney is less than all other competitions the clubs currently compete in, it can only mean following years will have even less interest. Managers start playing second string teams because of this, which starts a spiral of decline.

    An actual league, being naturally the main focus of the season, gives exponentially more value for the initial bidders.
    Last edited by Buller; 23/03/2021 at 3:26 PM.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    While this is true, it does still demonstrate that cross-border stuff isn't a complete panacea. I find the relative lack of interest in the Setanta Cup hard to reconcile with the mooted figures in Lucid's AIL, for example, even allowing for what your post above.

    Certainly it will be interesting to see how the BeNe league goes (if it does get off the ground, although that does now appear more likely than not), not just at the top of the league, but also for those sides who are currently bottom half sides. Will it lead to more mergers? I think so. But I still think those will initially come from similar-sized - and medium-sized - leagues with a history of being in the same league, such as Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia. That counts us out on all counts for a while yet I would say.

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