This week the whole world of football including players, managers, and fans got upset due to news about a new club tournament, the European Super League. Seems like the initiation of the biggest clubs won’t go ahead for now, but it was a worrying sign for the UEFA. This isn’t the first time though that the sport faced tough situations. These are the biggest challenges in football’s history.
Reforms and changes are necessary in all sports, including football. Last year’s difficulties and empty stadiums have affected even the biggest clubs. So it wasn’t surprising that the owners of some of these clubs have tried to come up with a solution. But no one welcomed their idea, neither the fans, nor the players. One thing is sure though, football is facing serious problems right now which need some solutions. But the sport has survived several similar situations so far from bribery scandals to the introduction of VAR. Let’s hope it will do it again.
Biggest challenges in football’s history
1. FIFA Corruption Scandal
In 2015 several top FIFA officials were arrested on the allegations of bribery, fraud and money laundering. They were accused of accepting huge amounts from countries wanting to organize World Cups. Following the FBI investigations the presidents of the two major football organizations, FIFA and UEFA also had to resign. Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini denied all wrongdoings, but they were found guilty of a series of breaches. Like questionable payments made by Blatter to Platini. Luckily football has survived its biggest scandal. It is still the most popular sport of the world. Even though the new FIFA president, Gianni Infantino was also investigated for his previous role at UEFA. He managed to remain in his position, but several people are still critical about his leadership. In many people’s view, both FIFA and UEFA should be more transparent and democratic.
2. 2022 QATAR World Cup
Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010, even though there were several concerns about their bid. There have been allegations about bribery between Qatar representatives and FIFA members. Poor state of human rights, bad living and working conditions of migrant workers and the discrimination of LGBT members also worried many people. Not to mention the extremely hot weather in the summer. Which also meant that the event will be held in the winter. Though the country tried to calm everyone and deny all accusations, players and teams still threaten to boycott the event next year. But the 2022 World Cup is still going ahead and you can already make bets on the winner of the tournament. With online sportsbooks in the UK also mentioning Brazil and France as the top favorites.
3. Calciopoli Scandal
The Calciopoli or as it’s more known, the Italian referee scandal from 2006 also belongs to the biggest challenges in football’s history. It involved several top clubs with Juventus being the biggest one from them. These clubs apparently got involved with Italian football officials and influenced the appointments of referees. Besides Juventus, other Serie A clubs like Milan, Fiorentina, and Lazio were also named in the scandal. But Juve got the biggest punishment after the club lost its 2005 and 2006 titles and were relegated to Serie B. As a consequence of the scandal, several top players left the Italian league from Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Fabio Cannavaro. Juventus moved back to the top division a year later but only returned to its previous form in 2011. Though it was an Italian domestic affair, this scandal shocked several football fans in Europe.
4. Foundation of the Premier League
The English Premier League is probably the best football league in the world, still, not everyone is a huge fan of it. It was founded in 1992 when clubs from the Football League First Divison decided to break away from the Football League and made their own competition. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) They made their own deal with the broadcasters worth around £1 billion, making it a big business. Thanks to the huge payments clubs could buy the best players from all around the world. But with the making of the Premier League the gap between the top division and the other lower tiers have grown massively.
The number of foreign club owners have also increased drastically. They brought lots of money to the clubs but represent a business-focus mentality and are less attached emotionally. Another issue with PL is it’s predictability. Since 1992 it has only happened twice that a club outside of the Big Six won the title. Blackburn Rovers in 1995 and Leicester City in 2016. This season Manchester City are the favorites to win their seventh title by online gambling sites in the UK. After leading the table 11 points ahead of Manchester United.
5. Introduction of VAR
Another big challenge in the history of football was the introduction of the video assistant referee system, the VAR. The main reason for VAR was to minimize human errors during the games which could also affect the results. But VAR has its faults too, as we tried to show it in our previous articles. It disrupts the flow of the game, as it often takes several minutes to make a final decision. And even then, these decisions are not always right, adding more frustration to the players and the fans. They are not consistent either. As sometimes they can highlight minor issues, while on other occasions it overlooks major errors. Still, the VAR system has been introduced in several countries since 2016 from the Bundesliga to the Champions League. And it’s also used in most international tournaments from the European Championship to the World Cup.