Sports News in Brief: New UEFA tournament not necessarily a benefit for Danish teams
Plans announced by the European football governing body UEFA to establish another continental club tournament from 2021 might not be that fantastic for Danish football teams.
While the Europa League 2 (EL2) will give an additional number of teams the chance of playing group football, the move will most probably cement a greater wealth disparity between the bigger and smaller leagues.
Prize winnings woe
Currently, due to Denmark only being ranked 13th on UEFA’s coefficient list, the country can enter two teams in the Champions League (CL) qualifiers (4th and 2nd rounds) and three teams in the Europa League (EL) qualifiers (2nd and 3rd rounds)
Providing that Denmark maintains its 13th position in the coefficient rankings, the new format will mean that Denmark will hang onto its CL places but only have one team in the EL qualifiers (round 2). In addition, it will be able to enter two teams into the EL2 qualifiers (round 2).
While the CL prize money will remain the same, the EL and EL2 will have to share the EL prize money.
Rich getting richer
Critics contend the format will only serve to enrich the bigger teams, while the smaller teams will just get poorer – continuing an expansion of a disparity gap that has grown massively in the past decade or two.
The EL will be reduced from 12 groups to eight, and the EL2 will likewise consist of eight four-team groups, with the winners going directly through to the last 16. The second-placed teams will meet the sides that finish third in the EL in a preliminary round.
The winner of the EL2 will qualify for the EL group stage the following season and matches will be played on Thursday, as is the case with the EL.
Pernille just misses out on inaugural women’s Ballon D’Or
The reigning UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, Pernille Harder, came excruciatingly close to becoming the first woman to win the coveted world footballer of the year award, the Ballon D’Or. Harder came second in the voting, just six votes behind Norwegian winner Ada Hegerberg. The Denmark and Wolfsburg forward received 130 votes to Hegerberg’s 136. Croatia’s Luka Modric won the men’s vote, becoming the first player not named Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to win it since 2007.
Brøndby the Chelsea of Denmark
Brøndby made a bit of dubious Superliga history on Sunday when they became the first side to field a starting line-up completely bereft of Danes in their clash against Hobro. Brøndby fielded 11 players from six different countries in their 1-0 win. German head coach, Alexander Zorniger, maintained that Brøndby’s youth program, Masterclass, simply doesn’t have the quality to produce players for the first team at the moment. The development is particularly jarring considering Brøndby’s historic ability to produce Danish talents – such as Daniel Agger, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Andreas Christensen and the Laudrup brothers.
Handball ladies off to hot Euro start
The Danish women’s handball team are off to a good start at the 2018 handball Euros following wins against Sweden and Poland in Group A. The first game against their neighbouring rivals was particularly exciting, with keeper Sandra Toft saving a last-second penalty throw in a 30-29 win. The Danes won more convincingly against Poland 28-21. Up next is their final group match against Serbia, although the Danes have already qualified for the middle-round stage.
Bendtner double secures The Double
2018 hasn’t been the greatest of years for Nicklas Bendtner, thanks to his run in with a taxi driver earlier this autumn, but the year has ended more favourably for the controversial striker. First the Dane won the Norwegian league with Rosenborg, and then he scored two goals in the cup final to secure the Norwegian double. A fellow Dane, club captain Mike Jensen, also scored in the final, which ended in a 4-1 win over Strømsgodset.
Badminton conflict deepens
Several of Denmark’s best badminton players, including Viktor Axelsen and Mia Blichfeldt, are no longer welcome to train with the national team in Brøndby due to the ongoing conflict regarding a collective agreement between the players and the badminton authority Badminton Danmark. Interestingly, Mads Øland, who was the chief negotiator on behalf of the men’s and women’s national football teams in recent conflicts, is also heading negotiations on behalf of the badminton players.