The UEFA Cup (soon to be Europa League) used to be a proper tournament but they’ve screwed with the format continually to make sure everyone gets more money, and now nobody can be bothered to follow it till the final.
At one time, great teams from Europe's top leagues used to vie for the giant trophy, but nowadays it is merely a pointless competition for underachievers and a chance for Channel Five and ITV3 to justify their existence. There is little demand for the TV rights and Channel Five paid 73p for the right to screen Portsmouth's run in 2008.
The current competition consists of around 600 matches, mainly involving a team from Poland and a Lithuanian mid-table outfit. After so very many flaccid fixtures, teams from the Champions League enter and beat the brains out of the teams that have played 16 games to reach the latter stages. In the end some Russian lot usually win it.
The draw for the second round of the tournament usually takes around six hours.
Moves are afoot to create even more matches and, ideally, get rid of the final. Michel Platini stated in a press conference that by 2012, ‘the Europa League will go on infinitely’ and spoke of a future in which ‘at any given time, Blackburn are playing Olympiakos’.
UEFA Cup on Back of the Net News
Hodgson caught selling UEFA place.