UEFA wants to change the rules of football in Europe so that each team plays with nine players rather than the eleven that currently make up a football team.
They want to do this because they think that it will make it more exciting for fans, and it’ll help the smaller teams as with two fewer players to buy, two fewer salaries to pay building and running a football team will be less expensive. This will allow more competition as the advantage the richer clubs have over their smaller competitors will be less.
But there’s a catch. Real Madrid are involved in the rule making, and they have the ability to veto any changes to the rules that don’t suit them. And because they have all the money in the world, and at least 20 of the world’s best players, not only is it going to give them a headache in trying to keep their superstars happy – maybe even having to offload a couple, it’s also going to give them more competition, and that’s the last thing they want.
So Real Madrid put their foot down, and UEFA have no choice but to abandon their plans for nine-man teams, and the status quo continues. The Spanish giants continue to batter teams week in week out much to the chagrin of football fans across Europe.
But of course, this is just fantasy. UEFA would never allow one team to have such an influence over the direction of the game, because it would be unfair, right?
Well that’s exactly what’s happening in Formula 1.
As a reward for their continued participation and in acknowledgement of them being one of F1’s bigger attractions, in 1980 Ferrari were given the ability to quash any regulation changes that don’t suit them.
They claim they represent the teams in any negotiations with F1 and the FIA, the other teams say Ferrari only look after themselves.
And so, in the brave new world of Formula 1 post 2021, whether or not Ferrari retain this ridiculous entitlement is up for debate.
When asked about the veto in the pre-race press conference, Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams said:
“I don’t think one team should have the right to a veto. That makes no sense to me at all.”
“I think it’s just silly, if I can be honest.”
“I have a problem in our sport anyway in the fact I feel it’s far too democratic.”
“I feel that F1 and the FIA should take more ownership in the regulations.”
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner added:
“If we’re going for a clean sheet of paper, it would make sense for it not to be there, as Claire says, the same rules for everyone.”
However, Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto understandably thinks differently:
“It’s protecting all the teams maybe against some decisions which could be against the spirit or the interest of the teams themselves, something that we are starting discussing with both the FIA and F1.”
The ongoing negotiations in establishing a Concorde agreement beyond 2020 will obviously propose Ferrari’s veto being removed, and Ferrari will obviously hint that without it they might consider ditching Formula 1 altogether.
I hope they can reach a compromise for the sake of both parties – each is poorer without the other.