Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-239"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, Mr Belet, I will start straight away with the thing that has done the most to change professional sport in recent years: money. A professional club’s greatest source of revenue is the sale of television rights. The bigger the national television market, the greater the clubs’ revenue, budget and buying power. It is no accident that nearly all of the teams playing in the group phase of the Champions League are from large Member States. As in other sectors of the unbridled market economy, this imbalance leads to a rapidly widening gulf between rich and poor. On the one hand there are enterprises worth billions, like Real Madrid: on the other bankrupt clubs like Sturm Graz. That is unsporting and unfair. What can small Member States do to counter this imbalance? We need new leagues; we need to stop thinking so narrowly in terms of national countries. We need to be more European, including in football. Moreover, I believe that we should not buy and trade home-grown talent, but rather, as is usual in the United States, allocate talented players to clubs by lot. Weaker teams would have more lots and therefore more of a chance of being top clubs. If money alone determines football, then Europe’s most popular cultural asset will lose its defining characteristic: its sporting spirit."@en1

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