They all hate it! Eveyone on Five Live, including Gabriele "The Twat" Marcotti, Alan "Ref Hater" Green, Steve "Unreasonable" Claridge and Spoony "What is the point of?" Spoony. They say it will dilute the quality of English teams in the Champions league, worse: it will make a mockery of it! If a team finishing seventh can qualify for the Champions League, then it's not the Champions League anymore is it! It's disgraceful!
I can't see the problem with it. .
When the tradition and history of European Cup was destroyed in the quest for more money that was the Champions League, it became a different type of competition: it became essentially a closed shop for a few annointed clubs. This did not happen by accident, these same few annointed clubs (originaly called the G14) threatened UEFA that if they did not get a restructuring of European competitions that allowed them to play each other more often, they would set up their own league and stick two fingers up to UEFA. That is why we now have the same clubs playing the same pointless group matches each and every year. That is why the European Cup is no longer the pinnacle of excitement, at least until the later rounds. If Manchester United Vs AC Milan is your idea of the most exciting tie in the world, that's fine, but if that tie happens every other year, then surely the excitement is tarnished? Doesn't it become, well, boring?
The Champions League has been carefully designed to make a few clubs a lot of money. That is why the top four are against the idea of a playoff, they want to keep the status-quo, and that's perfectly understandable.
But why do the pundits hate it? Surely they are supposed to be the voice of the fans? If you support any team outside of the top four, then creating a playoff that might allow you to qualify for the Champions League is surely only going to make supporting your club more exciting?
Most clubs have no chance of finishing in the top four anymore, because frankly, according to the pundits at least, you need to qualify for the Champions League before your club has the resources to qualify for the Champions League (just listen to what they are saying about Manchester City). At least a playoff would give us non-glory hunting supporters of smaller teams something to aim for, a chance to break into the big time.
I like the idea of a play-off, it's a better idea than the "39th" game, but it will never happen because the the top four money clubs are against it, and for some reason the pundits have weighed in behind them, despite this position being against the best interest of most fans. We live in strange times.