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September 13, 2006

Don't believe the tripe

The "Champions" League started up again this week. In Greece the Tuesday night matches appear to have moved onto satellite TV only, but we still get a game on Wednesday on NET. It is all part of UEFA's exciting new "marketing cycle", which promises more prize money, more TV coverage, and better sponsorship than ever before.

Of course, what it can't do is make the competition exciting. Just look at the stats for a moment. The group stage consists of 96 matches. And after those 96 matches are played, the end result is that 8 teams are eliminated from European competition. That's right, 8,640 minutes of football (plus injury time), to tell just 8 teams they don't have a European fixture to plan for in March.

Tonight's match on Greek TV is A.C. Milan vs AEK Athens. This year, even having been found guilty of taking part in a match-fixing scandal isn't sufficient to get you excluded from the competition.

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