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Gem

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CHELSEA WOULD REJECT G14 INVITE:

From the official site:

Peter Kenyon has confirmed that Chelsea Football Club would not join the G14 group of clubs if invited.

G14 were planning to expand to 40 clubs but speaking at the International Football Arena conference in Zurich, the Chelsea FC chief executive said:

'I think European football has changed a lot since the formation of G14, then there was no real dialogue between the clubs and UEFA.

"Now the situation is different. There are a lot of major issues to discuss, and find a resolution to, with UEFA.

'Our position is that the clubs would best be served by a new independent club body working together with UEFA within the framework that has already been set up in co-operation with them.

'So if we were to be officially invited to join an expanded G14 I think we would politely decline.'

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If Chelsea reject it I would imagine it is because they are far advanced in discussions about some other alternative.

However assuming we are not and we do reject it then I would doff my cap as I would hate to be part of it.

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Great news, and I think the reason for us declining would be because there is a new group forming (this has been discussed before) that is not just for the elite but that has the backing of all the major clubs, and UEFA and includes the smaller clubs. I think you'll see Chelsea/Kenyon will be one of the biggest players within this group.

G14 has always been a terrible idea geared purely at forcing UEFA to do whatever suits the biggest clubs in Europe, therefore anything that removes their stronghold on the game has to be a good thing.

Well done Pete Kenyon!!!

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F**k the G14!

It doesn't concern supporters......its an old boys jolly club!

Football politics = Bollox.

Bollox to them and their lawn bowls club style!

Stuck up bunch of tossers!

I dont agree with anything that looks down their hooters at smaller clubs and people they dont like.

P*ter K*nyon's Brand Army!!

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Gory I think you're blinded by Kenyon rage, he said we wont be joining!!! That's a good thing isn't it?

Generaly....... yes I am blinded.

But not on this one,its the right move and certainly is good news Barn!

Im getting behind the man and his decision

He needs a song........PK'S BRAND ARMY!

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Long, but well worth the read and right on cue for you, Gem, - Martin Samuel comes up with all the answers?

G14 sharks lie in wait for Michel Platini?s Champions League minnows

By Martin Samuel - Times 7/11/07

The instinctive reaction to all pronouncements from the pressure group known as G14 is opposition. Dismiss anything it says as motivated by naked self-interest, avarice and anxiety and one cannot go far wrong. The lobby representing the richest football clubs in Europe has never been big on debates concerning the sport as a whole, so the selfishness of its views is almost an understanding. When G14 speaks, we hear only the voice of the most privileged, elitist faction in the European game and the text is primarily restricted to two topics: money, and how it can get more. The majority of G14?s causes concern the further channelling of football?s wealth to those who need it least. Yet for all these advantages, what bonds its members is fear. Fear that they are not good enough to support their financial ambitions, fear that clubs from outside the group will usurp their position at the pinnacle of European football. They are, in essence, protectionist. They want what they have ? and more if possible ? while shutting the door on the rest. Even though the rules of Europe?s leading club competition, the Champions League, have been rewritten to ensure the continued dominance of the G14 elite, they are still scared and resistant to even the smallest levelling of the playing field. Only one club from outside G14 has reached the Champions League final, AS Monaco in 2004, and the last champions to come from beyond this elite band dates back to the tournament?s days as the European Cup, Red Star Belgrade defeating Marseilles in 1991. The last final to be played between non-G14 members was 27 years ago, Nottingham Forest beating SV Hamburg. And still the lobby of the super-powerful is not satisfied.

In the circumstances, then, it would be some achievement to make neutral football followers side with this alliance of closed-shop, closed-minds elitism, yet somehow Michel Platini, the Uefa president, is managing it. His proposals for a restructured Champions League are so misguided, so unlikely to bring about worthwhile change, so potentially harmful, that when the G14 lets slip its standard threat of starting a breakaway competition, for once it is possible to see its point. While keeping the present number of competitors at 32, Platini wants to introduce domestic cup winners and six champions from smaller countries as a way of opening up the competition across the Continent; but what the Champions League needs is fewer whipping boys, not more, and his proposals will do nothing to address that.

The leading European club tournament has gone the way of the Barclays Premier League. It now has three tiers of entrants. The clubs who, like Derby County, know that they face a battle to avoid bottom spot from day one (Steaua Bucharest, Slavia Prague), those who have a cosy, predictable Evertonian existence in the middle, rarely in danger of winning it but rarely in danger of dropping out (Lyons, Benfica, the Dutch), and the potential champions (the English, the Spanish, the Italians). A look at this season?s tournament reveals few surprises. Any half-decent team will have qualified with a game to spare and this evening Manchester United and Arsenal could make it to the last 16 with two remaining. Going into match-day four (as Uefa and television types call it), G14 clubs held top position in seven of the eight groups (and it would have been a clean sweep had fear not prevented them from inviting Chelsea to join once it became clear where Roman Abramovich?s money was taking the club). The only real shock has been the faltering performance of Liverpool, but this is because the consistency of Rafael Ben?tez?s team in Europe has obscured domestic form. Reviewing the domestic league table over the past three seasons, there is no reason why Liverpool?s progress to the latter stages of the leading European tournament should be presumed.

Platini is right in attempting to address the breadth of the competition, but his logic is flawed. In the previous round of matches, Arsenal put seven past Slavia, so what purpose would there be in introducing the champions of another inferior league to be swept aside by a club with a decade of financial and competitive advantage on their side? As a reforming concept it is as weak as suggesting that the Premier League would be improved by the compulsory elevation of clubs from the South West, Wales and Yorkshire, properly to represent the country geographically. No doubt Plymouth Argyle, Cardiff City and Leeds United would enjoy the money, but they would spend most of the campaign getting a demoralising hiding. If VfB Stuttgart, the champions of Germany, have failed to take a point from three matches in group E, what chance FBK Kaunas, of Lithuania? Stuttgart were in trouble from the start, of course, because they have limited Champions League experience. Their status as the No 1 team in the Bundesliga, one of the strongest leagues in Europe, counts for nothing in the Champions League draw, so they were placed in pot three and drawn against Barcelona (11 straight seasons in the Champions League) and Lyons (eight). Platini is making no move to challenge the tyranny of club coefficient rankings, but it is this, not the absence of cup winners or the best team in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, that governs the status quo.

If Platini wants to broaden the span of the Champions League he should enlarge the group stage to 40 teams (eight groups of five), with the extra places coming only from champion teams. Yet that would still not solve the problem of the yawning gap between the established elite and the new arrivals. Only when clubs are seeded so that winning the domestic league means more than five years of history ? or even change the rules so that in countries with more than one entrant, clubs are seeded in the order in which they finished domestically, meaning that this season United would have been in pot one, Chelsea in pot two and so on ? can there be any hope that the old European order will be overturned.

A clever Dutch system designer named Bert Kassies attempts to keep track of the Uefa coefficients, which this season made United the equal third-best team in England, despite winning the league. The finest team in the country, obviously, were Liverpool, who have not won the league in 17 years. Indeed, only four of the top 12 teams in the coefficient table were champions (five if AC Milan?s Champions League win is included) and, according to Uefa, Newcastle United are the eleventh-best team in Europe (as opposed to the tenth best in England). Platini is not seeking to correct this formula, which props up the basic disparity in the system. Were Manchester City to maintain their third-placed league position under Sven-G?ran Eriksson, their coefficient ranking would make them one of the lowest seeds in the competition, probably inferior to the team finishing behind them in fourth place. As a result they would be given a tough qualifying match, as happened to Everton in 2005, when they were eliminated by Villarreal before the group stage.

Platini is barking up the wrong tree in seeking to create interest by introducing another collection of no-hopers to get thrashed at Old Trafford. His aim should be to achieve greater parity in the here and now, to reward form above past achievement. This season only 15 of 53 member Uefa nations are represented, but that does include countries to the east (Russia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Romania) and Scandinavia (Norway). The previous season, teams from 16 countries competed, including representatives of Denmark, Bulgaria, Belgium, Romania and Ukraine, and in 2005-06 there were 16 again. Yet the case for expansion is hardly compelling when none of these teams made the slightest impression on the tournament (although invariably the seedings afforded them an impossible task). What does that say of the strength of the teams left behind at the qualifying phase? It is pointless widening the reach of the Champions League if all the good people of Hungary can look forward to is the pride of the nation being ruthlessly taken apart on a fortnightly basis and playing dead rubbers from the halfway stage onwards (at which point qualification will be as good as impossible) before being cast aside in December.

If Platini wants more nations involved it cannot be at the expense of true competition (the fourth-best team in England will always have a better chance of turning over Milan than the champions of Finland) and nor should it be just for the sake of it. There is nothing less appealing than the elitist fare peddled by G14; except for a two-tier Champions League overrun by falsely promoted inferiors to guarantee the president votes at the next Uefa election.

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There goes our chances of winning the Champions League then.

Wrong Alan I'm afraid. I'm reliably informed by our good friend Just that we are actually on the inside pissing out all over the pesky G14. The G14/UEFA axis of evil is no more.

We should be shoo-ins for the Champions League from now on.

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