LONDON (AP) The head of the Bundesliga welcomed discussions about revamping the Champions League on Wednesday, seeing a potential European Super League as beneficial for German clubs.
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The Associated Press reported last week that the European Club Association is discussing whether to lobby UEFA to turn Europe’s elite competition into an American-style league that could remove the need for leading clubs to qualify.
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Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert said it is important for the future of football that clubs and UEFA discuss ways of improving the competition through a “Champions League 2.0” or by creating a “Super League,” which has been talked about for years.
“If a Super League is really set up, and it’s done in a proper way, it can be something that helps the Bundesliga,” Seifert said on a conference call. “Bayern (Munich) is very popular and Borussia (Dortmund) became very popular – and that shows how powerful the Champions League is … that lifts them onto a platform where people are watching and they have a lot of fans around the world.”
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Seifert has not been involved in the talks, but the ECA is chaired by Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
“If a Super League comes in the way you heard it and I heard it, that could help our top league because of the brand recognition and brand awareness,” Seifert said.
“As with any other company in the world, UEFA or the ECA has to think about what can be done better in the future.”
Seifert was speaking as the Bundesliga reported that the combined revenue of its 18 clubs rose seven percent to $2.84 billion in the 2014-15 season.
Bayern is Germany’s wealthiest club, generating 474 million euros ($515 million) last season, and the Bavarian powerhouse is cruising to a fourth consecutive Bundesliga title.
Bayern has an eight-point lead over Dortmund with 16 games remaining. By contrast, the Premier League’s top five teams are separated by 10 points and Leicester, which has never lifted the trophy, is the front-runner.
Downplaying the threat posed by England, Seifert maintained: “The most unpredictable league of all European top leagues is the Bundesliga.”
Seifert contends that focusing on the title-winner – and Bayern’s stranglehold on the trophy – is a fixation “very much driven from U.S. sports, where you only have one Super Bowl winner.
“When it comes to European football it is about all areas of the league,” Seifert said. “Especially last year we saw very competitive games to decide who will play in the Champions League, who will play in the Europa League or relegation.
“The dominance issue of Bayern Munich is a less important issue from our perspective than maybe sometimes in the media … you don’t have 43,000 people per game on average if people feel it’s not interesting enough.”
In the pursuit of international television viewers, the Premier League is the dominant force. England’s television contracts for 2016-19 are set to generate around $13 billion internationally, with domestic rights already selling for 5.340 billion pounds ($7.6 billion).
“The TV contract most of all reflects the buying power of national media companies (Sky and BT in Britain) and not so much the strength of the league,” Seifert said.
This story has been corrected to show that the top five teams, not top 10, in the English Premier League are separated by 10 points.