Clubs from the Americas could pose a threat to the European elite – as South America's giants play Concacaf's finest | The Sun

IF THERE is a possible threat to the supremacy of the European club game, then it surely comes from the Americas.

The club game in South America has at least as much tradition as Europe, and until 30 years ago was equally as strong.

In the days when the main source of revenue was ticket sales, then the big clubs in Uruguay could compete with anyone.

Then the TV age began, and Europe understood it first, selling its product all over the planet and opening up a huge gap.

Since then, South American football has become an export industry, with the players crossing the Atlantic at an ever younger age.

In recent years some of the giant Brazilian clubs have been learning more about making money from their massive fan bases.

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But the model is still based on selling the best players to Europe, and even so, their financial resources have made it hard for the rest of South America to compete.

The last three finals of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s Champions League, have been all Brazilian affairs. This is a problem.

A solution could come from the north. Major League Soccer is a rising force – it scouts South America very well -and now, for the first time, the champions of CONCACAF (North and Central America plus the Caribbean) are from the United States.

Over the next few days Seattle Sounders will be representing the region in the Club World Cup.

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Football in the United States has momentum behind it but lacks credibility. South American club football has credibility to burn.

In between them is Mexico, whose clubs have massive followings. Why not put them all together in a giant Pan-American competition?

One answer is the distances involved. The Americas are vast.  Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is in a different hemisphere from Mexico City.

The distance between them is further than that between London and a number of cities in India.

And that is only half way on the trip to Canada. Logistical problems make it hard to organise a Champions League for the Americas.

But how about a quick tournament between the best teams from the Libertadores and the Concacaf Champions League? 

That has always seemed more viable – and last week  an important announcement was made.

Starting from next year, there is an intention to stage a Final Four competition, bringing together the best two teams from South America and from Concacaf.

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This has the potential to be very important. Where and when will it be played? How will it fit in to an already over-crowded calendar?  It is too soon to say.

But if this competition takes off then we could be looking at a sport changer, an event that shakes the domination that Europe has enjoyed over the last few decades.

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