“As A Fan: ‘No Thanks’”
Plans for a breakaway ‘Atlantic League’ involving the top clubs from Scotland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Norway have been rubbished by the head of FC Copenhagen’s fan club.
Reports this morning claimed that 16 clubs – including Celtic and Rangers – from six countries would break away from their national leagues to play in a new structure. It’s the latest proposal in a series that dates back to 1999 when PSV Eindhoven sporting director Frank Arnesen first proposed a league involving clubs from some of Europe’s second-rank leagues.
But Lars Thor, the president of FC Copenhagen’s official fan club, FCKFC, believes this latest proposal won’t be well received by fans.
“From an economic perspective and a development perspective, I can see whay the club’s intentions are, but as a fan, it becomes a ‘no thanks,” Thor told Danish newspaper BT.
“It may well be that there will be many at the home games, but I can also think of the people who enjoy taking away trips. You will see an empty away section in Europe, whereas at the moment we can afford to save up for European matches.”
Copenhagen director Anders Hørsholt believes that with the Champions League about to effectively become a closed shop clubs from some of Europe’s lesser leagues have no option but to consider a breakaway.
“The latest development is a clear step away from the idea of ‘The Football Family’, which would otherwise have been the foundation of both UEFA, the European Club Association and the entire cooperation of Football Europe,” said Hørsholt.
“In short, we have no alternative. We are a club that should help ensure that Denmark has a place in international club football. We will fight for a place in the next Champions League, but we will also fight outside while a new European football map is drawn.”
But Thor looks back at an ill-fated attempt to start a mini super league in Scandinavian countries, the Royal League which ran for three seasons from 2004 to 2006, as how not to run a trans-national set-up.
“It is perhaps a horrible example as it was only in the Nordic region. It is something that as a Danish club must be considered,” he said.
“There you could see home matches, and if you had the time and money, one might well take in some away games. But having to go to Trondheim on a weekday night, perhaps it might not be so sexy.”