A new study by the CIES Football Observatory has shown that despite the enormous amounts of money generated by the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s premier club competition is one of the continent’s most one-sided.
CIES studied the results from every league in Europe so far this season (from 1st July last year up to and including the matches played on 3rd April), as well as in the Champions League and Europa League from the group stages onwards, to determine the number of games won by a three goal margin or more.
The results showed that 21% of games in the Champions League were won by at least three goals – only the Cypriot league (22.5%) and the Austrian Bundesliga (21.5%) had greater imbalance than UEFA’s showpiece competition. However, the Europa League was one of the lowest, with only 13.5% of games finishing with a team winning by three or more goals.
The ‘Big 5’ leagues (Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and Ligue 1) are all in the top half of the sample, ranging from 17.9% (Ligue 1) to 16.7% (Bundesliga) of games finishing with a winning margin of at least three goals. According to CIES, this is indicative of the increasing financial gaps between those clubs participating in European competitions – primarily the Champions League – and those who do not, creating more one-sided fixtures as the same clubs finish in the top few positions.
“To re-balance competitions,” the analysis concludes, “the only solution would be to improve the distribution of financial (TV rights) and human (transfer market) resources at both national and international level.”