Euro super league will beat EPLl: Wenger

He says change is inevitable as big clubs will not want to share revenue with smaller ones

LONDON • Outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is convinced that a seismic change to the game of football is afoot and that the coming years will witness the inception of a European Super League.

The Frenchman, who is leaving the Gunners at the end of the season after nearly 22 years in charge, believes it will take over from the English Premier League (EPL) on weekends, with domestic matches being relegated to midweek.

Another one of its knock-on effects would be a reduction in the number of teams in the English top flight.

Wenger described the change as "inevitable" because the big clubs will no longer want to share broadcast revenues with the smaller ones.

The 68-year-old claimed that audiences were down for midweek Champions League ties, and a move to glamour European fixtures on weekends under a new format would be attractive.

Elite-level European clubs, he added, would be receptive to the Super League because it would enable them to attack the EPL's financial dominance.

"Maybe I will see you in a few years and you will certainly have a European league over the weekends," Wenger said.

"A domestic league will certainly play Tuesday-Wednesday. It will happen and it will be soon because it is a way for other clubs to fight against the Premier League.

"Why at weekends? Because the Champions League doesn't sell well any more. Look at the audiences of the Champions League. There's a contrast there because if you look at the audiences, it is not fantastic.

"But if you have Real (Madrid) v Barcelona or Real v Arsenal or Manchester United v Bayern Munich every week, the audiences will be good.

"It is inevitable. Why? First of all, to share money between the big clubs and small clubs will become a problem. Why? Because the big clubs will say that if two smaller clubs are playing each other, nobody wants to watch it.

"People want to watch quality. The big clubs say: 'So we have to share the money but nobody is interested in you?'

"The Premier League will get smaller. If you want to make it more attractive, you have to go down to 16 and make a real competition of it. But it will be smaller if it goes to Europe."

Wenger was in unusually reflective mood as he prepared for the final match of his Arsenal tenure at Huddersfield Town tomorrow.

He added that the years after the club's move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium in 2006 - when he had to manage with restricted budgets - were his most challenging.

"I would say, personally, from 2006 to 2015 - it was certainly the period where I needed to be the strongest and did my best job," Wenger said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2018, with the headline 'Euro super league will beat EPLl: Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe