x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Liverpool bring extra glamour to the competition

Liverpool's presence in the revamped Europa League will provide a huge fillip to the second-tier competition.

Liverpool's presence in the revamped Europa League will provide a huge fillip to the second-tier competition. That is the view of Uefa's marketing director Philippe Le Floc'h, who believes that the prestige of the English Premier League club will create an added interest in the tournament. Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Marseille are the stand-out names in this year's competition after only finishing third in their respective Champions League groups and Floc'h said: "Liverpool being knocked out of the Champions League is good news for the Europa League.

"In the Champions League, sometimes some of the great clubs are not there. That is because they are not the best anymore. This is the essence of sport. If you are good, you win. If you are not good, you lose. "Liverpool have been at their peak, but they are going down now. They may come back again, but the show must go on. All the clubs have their phases." Le Floc'h knows, though, that the Europa League cannot compete for attention with the Champions League. "Nothing can be bigger than the Champions League, but the teams who drop out of the Champions League are lucky that they are able to be recycled into the Europa League," said Le Floc'h, speaking at the Arabian Sponsorship forum at the Emirates Palace Hotel.

"It is good to have Liverpool in the Europa League, because if they win it will bring more prestige to the competition. We need to rejuvenate the league to bring it back to its former glory. Winning the Uefa Cup in the mid 1980's was something prestigious. It will never be as good as the Champions League, but it was a good competition. In a way, we have been a victim of our own success with the Champions League," he continued. "Now we want to bring back the Uefa Cup to its former glory. We believe the changes made to the Europa League can do that."

Le Floch'h, though, warned it could take another five years to determine whether the rebranded format has been a success. "It will take time to see if the changes are successful. We can talk again in 2015 and see then if it has been successful." sports@thenational.ae