THE ENGLISH PREMIERSHIP (EPL) – LA LIGA SAGA

By: Daniel Nabary

The mantra on the social websites lately has been either ‘the EPL is better than La liga’ or ‘La Liga is better than the EPL’. It has been difficult to settle because many have taken entrenched positions.The debate is even more legitimate as the two leagues top the current UEFA country co-efficient which is used to rank the collective performance of the clubs of each member association.

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The question which remains unanswered is, by which criteria do we measure a better league? The discussion however has mainly been centred on performance. I find myself caught in the web of these debators and i have finally decided to break my silence on some of the points raised, taking the last ten seasons as my time frame (this season not inclusive).

The EPL bigots are close to right on the opinion that la liga is a two-team league. The primera liga has proven to be slightly ‘a Scottish league’ than the EPL with Barcelona (5 times winners) and Real Madrid (4 times winners) dominating. I could recall 4 different teams winning the EPL as against 3 teams winning La Liga.

Arsene Wenger once lamented on this nonexistence of parity among la liga clubs describing it as unwatchable.

“I watched Real Madrid against Almeria and turned off after 30 minutes” – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in 2010

Let’s look at it from this facet as well. Whereas the EPL has had 3 different teams winning the UEFA Champions League in the last decade, only 1 la liga side has achieved this honour.The European performance of the respective clubs of the two associations couldn’t have been left out. Both associations have 3 champions league trophies to their credit but it will interest you to know that 4 different EPL teams have been runners-up at least once while no la liga side has placed 2nd.

However, nothing positive can be said about the representatives of the EPL in the Europa League (the then UEFA cup). The La Liga boys have soared high bagging home 5 trophies. It therefore remains a Champions league-Europa league case. Well, the ball is in your court.

The issue of the number of viewers is quite a difficult one as i am not the omnipresent neither am I into “african electronics” to know the number of viewers worldwide, but i find myself watching more EPL matches. Could it be because the EPL has had more different teams playing top flight football? Maybe. La Liga has had just 3 teams playing in the semis of the UEFA Champions League (Villareal has even been relegated)

Notwithstanding this, no single EPL match can attract as many viewers as the clasico.

Conjoint to this is the television broadcast. I’m more than convinced that the EPL has a well managed T.V issues.

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“Our league is not just the biggest pile of sh*t in Europe but of the world” José Maria Del Nido, president of Sevilla, as he expressed his dismay on the unequal distribution of television rights and the gap between the 2 big clubs and the rest (in 2011).

The EPL teams on the other hand enjoy a more balanced TV money.

Then again, picture La Liga centre-line camera man who refuses to shift his camera when the attacking team decides to pass backwards (he couldn’t be more annoying).

But do television issues make a league better? I thought ‘agoro ne famu’ or? To be honest, the EPL lacks talent (in comparison with the la liga). It has been just a display of brawn and I am vindicated by the number of La Liga players to have won the Ballon d’Or and recent FIFPro XI.

As endless the debate has been, as endless this piece could be. Questions to now ask are, how can this be settled? Shouldn’t there be a time frame?

Some have suggested the current best EPL side should lock horns with the current best la liga side (do i see the EPL fanatics quake?). Others have suggested it should be on administrative grounds (like clubs going on strike; and the la liga will fall short). The recent one has been the EPL XI taking on the La Liga XI which will be a delight to watch.

Well, for those of us who remain nonchalant about the whole debate and its settlement, we will continue to enjoy the game of football and choose matches to watch by teams and not by league.

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