I was reading one of the best blogs about the European Union the other day and enjoyed a brilliant article about what Europe could be in 2020 (French language sorry). Basically the EU would either implode, not change much from what it is now or become a powerful federation able to look at the United States and China straight in the eyes. I thought for a while and toyed with the idea of doing a similar sport with European sport. This is how things could look in 2020.
1. Worst-case scenario: back to the future
A total lack of economic and financial coordination among EU member states leads to a long recession cycle. After the bankruptcy of the Champions Hockey League in 2009, Heineken bows out of its sponsorship deal with the European rugby leagues just a year later marking the end of the Heineken Cup. Volleyball and handball elite leagues disappear as well. In 2014, the main basketball teams – disgruntled by the disappointed media and sponsorship deals – make secession from the Euroleague similar to what they did on the eve of the 2000-2001 season. The situation gets worse in 2019 when Real Madrid, Alba Berlin, Paris-Levallois, CSKA Moscow and Lottomatica Roma become the 5 latest NBA expansion teams. How about football? In 2020, all Premier League teams without exception are now owned by foreign billionaires. Since the purchase of Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema by Notts County in 2016, no team from outside the UK has been able to align with the money offered by English teams. All players nominated for the Golden Ball play there. The interest for the UEFA Champions League has dropped consequently. English teams now refuse to play what they call a “second class league” and most of the national champions cannot afford the lengthy and costly travels around Europe any more. They just decline to play the competition. In 2020, FC Dinamo Bender of Moldova wins the UEFA Champions League.
In order to fight the economic crisis and unemployment, European governments start protecting local jobs and companies and put new restrictions to the freedom of mouvement of workers. Soon after all European leagues adopted the 6+5 rule which forces every team to have a majority of national players on the pitch, the European Court of Justice changes its jurisprudence and denies the well-known Bosman ruling. Most leagues go back in time and set a new limit of 3 foreign players by team to protect the development of national youth players.
The European teams stop playing on a European scale and their rosters stop having a European flavour. And this blog has been long dead.
2. Best-case scenario: Ich bin ein Europeer
After managing economic, financial, fiscal and social integration, the European Union seeks to boost a European identity for his citizens through well… whatever’s possible including Esperanto courses in kindergarten. The European anthem is soon played at every national team game, one of the first measures taken by new European Commission President, Michel Platini. During the 2020 Olympics, the European Union delegation tops the US and China for the highest number of gold medals. And a European team led by Cesc Fàbregas, Theo Walcott and Mario Balotelli wins the 2018 World Cup. Regular test matches are held between USA Basketball and the “European Dream Team”.
Did I mention the Lausanne Treaty about sports? It makes it compulsory for every first division squad in every professional team sport to have a player from a minimum of 6 different EU members under contract. The enlargement to all Balkan states and Turkey in 2018 made it a lot easier for teams to adjust it is to say. Countless tournaments and other sporting events are organised to celebrate Europe’s unity. Maybe the most Pharaonic has been the creation of the Tour of Europe, the most lucrative cycling race of all time, which highlights the beauty and diversity of the European landcapes between Paris, Roubaix, Milan and San Remo.
Oh yeah and in 2020, 12stars is ranked #1 blog worldwide according to Technorati.