BEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD ? – AYO-OLUWA OBAFEMI

This question springs up heated arguments among football fans everywhere in the world and its answer remains subject to the preference of the individual and the club they support. A fan of Manchester United will easily pick the English Premier League (EPL) as the best in the world likewise a Real Madrid fan who will, without much thinking, go with the La Liga; both knowing fully well that any ill-judgment to the league their club belongs discredits the strength of their club.

 

While there is no conclusive stance taken on which is the best league, certain criteria are used by football folks to buttress their points. Those criterions will be listed individually, slapped with cold facts, and the league that trumps will be taken as the best based on that aspect. The leagues in review are the English Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga being that they have been the most successful in recent years.

 

STADIUM ATTENDANCE

Definitely, a good league should attract fans to its sanctum no matter how much the cost is to view a game. Most good things don’t come cheap. If your angle of argument stems from the average number of fans that come to watch a game in the league, you’ll be thrilled. Albeit many things contribute to this factor such as price of tickets and stadium capacity, facts remain facts and we’ll stick to them. In the 2013/2014 season, La Liga recorded an average of 26,766, while the EPL had 36,631 and the Bundesliga 43,500. That is not all. In the top ten average stadium attendances in Europe, the Bundesliga produced six representatives while the EPL and La Liga both had two of its clubs there. This more than sums it up.

Winner: BUNDESLIGA

 

REVENUE

The EPL fans would have their glasses clinked in celebration even before the winner is announced. Straight to the point. The revenue of both the La Liga and Bundesliga pales in comparison to that generated by the EPL. Simple reason – TV Coverage. The Britons are naturally controlled by the media having both BT and Sky Sport, prominent sports broadcasting outfits, struggling for a share of the soccer market in England. According to the financial football experts in Deloitte, EPL accrued revenue of €2.9 billion while the Bundesliga did likewise with €2 billion and the La Liga €1.9 billion in the 2013/2014 season.

Winner: ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

 

UEFA RANKING

This criterion is one that can’t be taken too far in arguments. Straight facts from UEFA, Europe’s supervisory body as far as League football are concerned. The ranking is based on performances in European activities. Each team gets two points for a win and one point for a draw (points are divided into two for matches in the qualifying and play-off rounds). Also, Clubs that reach the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals or final of the UEFA Champions League, or the quarter-finals, semi-finals or final of the UEFA Europa League, are awarded an extra point for each round. Finally, four points are awarded for participation in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League and four points for qualifying for the round of 16. At the time of writing this, Spain leads with 83.713, England follows with 70.391 and Germany 67.272 points.

Winner: LA LIGA

 

COMPETITIVENESS

This is the subject matter that brings most of the controversy and is indeed the major area looked at when leagues are ranked, at least for an average football fan. Competitiveness in this context is the ability of the league to produce many teams with genuine ability of winning the league and actually going forward to win it. The EPL fans are fast to point out that the league rules in this aspect and will cite examples by giving you reasons like “Six teams could win the league and any team can beat anybody”. While this looks likely from the start, as mid-season approaches, getting the probable winner gets easy as the list is trimmed down to just two. The league has produced just four different winners between 2004 and 2014 with Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City taking their turns every year. It may also interest you to also know that since 1992 only five clubs have won the league. The La Liga fans remain a little speechless and may be pardoned for this as they have been made to witness a constant duel between Barcelona and Real Madrid in recent years with the duopoly just recently broken by Atletico Madrid, and Valencia the only other team apart from the two behemoths to win it between 2004 and 2014. Meanwhile, the Bundesliga has had a slice of the league shared by quite a lot of teams with five different teams winning it in the last ten years.

Winner: BUNDESLIGA

 

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