2021 Champions Semi-Finals: Bold New Era or New Low for Football?

As the 2020/2021 Champions League semi-finals draw was made, it showed perhaps the most unique final four of all-time. Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Real Madrid were the teams remaining in the tournament. Three of those clubs are not part of the traditional elite of football and rose to success through billionaire owners. Does this mean football is finally dead, or is it a new era where any team could reach the very top?

There are two sides to the debate. On the one side there are those who believe having a rich owner sink money into a club in pursuit of success without the club earning that money goes against the purity of sport. Financial doping, they call it. On the other side there are those who believe the elite clubs are so entrenched that it’s only through these billionaire owners that smaller clubs can compete.

Before we look at both sides, it’s worth pointing out that there has certainly been more unpredictability in football over recent years. Whether that’s because of an influx of money is not clear, but if you’re betting on football with uusimmat vakiovihjeet, making accurate predictions is harder than ever.

The Money Debate: Sugar Daddy Owners are Killing Football

Football is a hierarchy where some elite clubs sit at the top of the food chain thanks to their rich histories of success. Those in no particular order are Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool, Juventus, AC Milan, and Bayern Munich. Some other clubs like Arsenal, Inter Milan, and Atletico Madrid are on the periphery of this elite group.

Three of this seasons’ Champions League clubs, Chelsea, PSG, and Man City, are not a part of this elite through tradition. They have muscled their way into the elite by having owners who are billionaires. With money invested by the owners, these three clubs have been able to join the traditional elite at the top of the game.

However, those elite clubs argue that their riches and ability to buy the best players comes organically. In other words, they only spend money that they earn. That’s a spurious claim in some cases, but it is mostly true. Sugar daddy clubs, on the other hand, are not using their own money and are being doped by outside finances.

Those who are against this injection of money into clubs say that it creates an unfair playing field and the three clubs with billionaire owners will end up pushing all others aside. For these clubs, especially Man City and PSG, funds are unlimited allowing them to spend to buy the best squads. We are already seeing evidence of this and it could create a situation where PSG and Man City monopolize football.

The Money Debate: How Else Can Clubs Match the Elite?

On the other side of the debate, proponents of sugar daddy owners say that there’s no other way for those smaller clubs to reach the top of the game and compete for competitions. How could Manchester City have matched Manchester United through organic growth when United had such a head start and much more money.

If football reigns in billionaire owners and stops them spending, it could lock in the elite clubs forever. We will never see a story like Chelsea or Man City again. Also, who said there’s anything wrong with someone buying an asset and then investing in it. It may kill some of the romanticism of football but it’s a perfectly legitimate thing for an owner to do… why should they be stopped?

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