Which is the World’s Best Football League?
Football fans are maybe not the best judges on this point. For example, no matter what the evidence to the contrary, they are biased towards thinking that their team is the best. And those same fans are also fantastically patriotic. For some reason, they all seem to think that not only their team, but the league in which their team plays is the best in the world. It means that actually establishing which league is the best, regardless of any in-depth studies, is a matter requiring a keen judicial mind.
There is not much doubt that the English Premier League is the biggest of the bunch. Global coverage, monumental revenues, and some of the most passionate fans and most glamourous names in the game make for a strong case for the EPL. But that conspicuous branding success is not the same thing as the best sporting event. So before we settle the argument before we’ve even started, let’s point out that fans regularly complain about the price of admission, the concentration of talent and trophies amongst only a handful of the 20 clubs involved, and the overall corporatisation of the game. The case for the EPL is not completely watertight.
So, what about the rest of Europe? Italy, Spain and Germany each have their merits. In Italy the precision and passion of players and fans alike are a match for anything the English game can offer. Suggestions of endemic racism perhaps do little to push the case for the Italian league, but that aside, great names, great games and grand spectacles make Serie A a more than viable candidate.
In Spain, where Real Madrid (3/10 in the La Liga betting with Bet365) and Barcelona (5/2) can compete for the title, it is impossible to overlook the argument that the best league should be where the best players are. And in the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – to say nothing of their illustrious team-mates – there is surely no question that Spain is where the world’s best ply their trade.
But critics will say that a league of two does not make for a satisfactory league at all. If La Liga comprised those two teams alone we could remove our judicial wigs and call the case closed. But it doesn’t. There are too many one-sided games and too many predictable results to make La Liga’s case.
So, what of Germany? A balanced spread of revenues, fan-friendly admission prices, a thoroughly competitive structure, standing room on the terraces and four World Cups do stack up a powerful body of evidence. If only it weren’t for Bayern Munich. Bayern are too big, too rich, too powerful and too dominant. A league should be about more than who can be better than Bayern.
What we want is a league unsullied by money and corporate greed, and a game where talent and teamwork count for more than agents and egos. We want a league where players and fans share their triumphs and defeats together, we want trouble free facilities and affordable entry prices.