THE fallout from the nuclear explosion which could have destroyed the unity of European club football is changing the game again.
Drastic action taken by supporters of the Premier League clubs who wanted to join it effectively sank the European Super League.
One or two further attempts to appease the self-identified elite six of England were aborted.
Then along came another, this time initiated by Uefa with a body named the European Club Association — which they arrogantly describe as the “Heart of Football”.
My immediate reaction is that their heart already requires a transplant.
No question, Uefa were spooked by the discovery that ESL clubs were about to wreck their structure.
And with Fifa also sniffing around the multi-billions of our continent’s leading leagues, the ECA was born.
The motto should have been “More for the few”.
And last week an antidote to the ECA was introduced, the Union of European Clubs, which quickly brought applause from hundreds of neglected also-rans.
Sorry about the rash of ‘E’ initials. Only the mobile phone company EE have more.
Most read in Football
In their case they stand for “Everything Everywhere” which is rather appropriate for Uefa and Fifa, people who have plans for dictatorship of the people’s game.
It’s no accident that Manchester City and United, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea, six promoters of the aborted Super League, are the only full English members of the ECA.
They have the votes to make the important decisions. The rest could simply be referred to as ‘observers’ but are politely called ‘associate members’.
Some Prem clubs outside the top six have agreed to be ‘associate members’, as have other clubs throughout Europe.
Among their ranks are mighty Valletta of Malta, average crowd 1,000; Vikingur of the Faroe Islands, average about 400; and Kairat of Kazakhstan, individual plastic seats for a 23,000-capacity crowd.
On a geographical note, 85 per cent of Kazakhstan is in Asia and has a border with China. In my book, that is not Europe.
Vikingur, Kairat and Valletta, and many others among the 110 full members, are not the kind of opposition — or should I say allies? — the Glazers or Abu Dhabi signed up for.
They expected Juventus, Real Madrid or Barcelona.
But this trio are absent from the ECA, presumably keeping their powder dry while hoping for a miraculous ESL rebirth.
LaLiga president Javier Tebas, fast becoming the voice of the thousand-plus clubs outside the ECA, said: “I’m fed up with hearing that the ECA represents the European clubs. It represents the elite clubs in Europe.
“We try to defend solidarity but that is not just ten per cent of the clubs. It has to be everyone.
“Is the ECA open? Not to vote and not for decision-making. Which is what is really necessary.”
The ECA was created to appease the richest.
They signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Uefa and have a say in how the money from competitions is dished out.
And surprise, surprise, it’s not distributed fairly!
The Champions League will expand next year and Fifa have announced an overblown Club World Cup in 2025.
And guess where both finals are due to be held.
You got it, the USA, one of the host nations for the 2026 World Cup.
All for the same reason millions of the ‘huddled masses’ first arrived in New York: money.
And that is what the ECA are all about.
Thirty per cent of Champions League prize money is based on a club’s historical European performances, enhancing the already huge financial disparities between and within leagues.
I doubt this will change, no matter how worthy the Union of European Clubs is.