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Is football becoming less competitive than before?

Is football becoming less competitive than before?
Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews
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In partnership with Media City Qatar. From tactical advancements to increased global exposure, elite level football has seen widespread changes to the game over the last 30 or so years.

From tactical advancements to increased global exposure, elite-level football has seen widespread changes to the game over the last 30 years.


All teams share the desire to win. Scoring goals at the start of the season brings joy to fans and players. But as modern-day football goes hand in hand with finance, is the sport in danger of becoming less competitive than ever before?

It has been widely reported that football has become predictable, so how serious is the problem? Manchester City has won four out of the last five Premier League titles in England. In Germany, Bayern Munich picked up their 11th Bundesliga title in a row. While in Spain, no one other than Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have won La Liga since Valencia did in 2004.

"I think football goes in cycles in terms of who's at the top. It will be another team in a few years' time. I don't like to see that dominance, but it happens in every country at the moment." explained former Premier League footballer Neil Mellor.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. And this is why football fans love the sport so much. There is the rare occasion when smaller teams achieve enormous success, but these moments are becoming fewer and further between.

"I do think the Premier League is the most competitive league because of how much money it generates. For example, a team like Bournemouth, who are towards the bottom of the table, can spend more than 100 million euros when the transfer window opens. If the teams at the top of the table aren't doing the same, they can lose more frequently against teams lower down the table. We've seen that happen this season with Liverpool and Chelsea, who have struggled for form." Mellor continued.

Consistently winning teams are a huge problem causing uneasiness with the game.

"I think the main concern is that people begin a new season pretty much able to predict the future. They already think, 'Well, City are going to win it again this year'. I think that's the biggest problem for English football because, at least previously, you had three or four teams that could be in the mix." Alex Batt, journalist for GiveMeSport.

So, how do football players remain motivated to win championships? Former Brazil defender Gilberto Silva was part of one of the best Premier League teams ever. He was a member of Arsenal's unbeaten 'invincible' team. He says the game has changed a lot since he played professional football.

"It was really, really competitive when I was there. Now when I look at the players on the field, they look much more athletic. They are a lot more broad in their size, and they're a lot more physical. Things like club infrastructure and information are improving from generation to generation." Says Gilberto.

Sport is a big business the world over, but how do other disciplines handle the cash disparity while keeping things interesting? Different sports have turned to innovative ways to try and keep things on a level playing field. In Formula 1, teams that finish lower in the championship standings are entitled to more wind tunnel time the following season to run more tests on their cars. As well as this, the entire grid is now bound by a cost cap in an attempt to stop the richer teams from running away with races every week.

Over in America, the NFL operate their famous 'draft' system. To ensure no one loses out, the team that finishes last at the end of a season move to the top of the table. This gives them first refusal on the young stars coming out of college-level football. By the same token, the league champions are pushed way down to the bottom of the table. Franchises also have salary caps that apply to their whole roster, meaning if they want to trade for a superstar, room for them has to be made financially.

So, with the same teams continually winning the big prizes, it may be time for football to rethink its strategy. The inspiration is out there, but only time will tell if governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA are open to change.

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