The State of Austrian Club Football
May 21, 2019
Most Championships: Rapid Wien, 32
Last 5 Winners: Red Bull Salzburg (18/19, 17/18, 16/17, 15/16, 14/15)
UEFA Ranking: 12th
Highest Ranked Club: Red Bull Salzburg, 29th
How important has Red Bull Salzburg’s success in Europe been for the Austrian Bundesliga?
Salzburg have been invaluable to the league in this sense.
Due to Rapid Vienna, Austria Vienna and Sturm Graz’s inconsistencies over the past few seasons, the Bundesliga has had to rely on other clubs making the most of their European adventures such as Wolfsberg, Altach and Admira. Needless to say, without Salzburg, the Austrian Bundesliga would be much lower on UEFA’s co-efficient table.
Is there much money in Austrian football at the moment?
If you exclude Salzburg from this question, then the answer would be no.
Rapid Vienna and Austria Vienna both recently bought new stadiums, so any transfer revenue they have generally has to be accumulated in player sales, whilst Sturm Graz also don’t have the biggest budget either. LASK, who have had an excellent season this year, do have good financial backing, but they’ve looked to invest this in player’s wages rather than splashing out on expensive signings (relative to the Austrian Bundesliga).
Outside of these 5 clubs, the budgets are small & clubs are always looking for ways to maximise revenue in order to maintain financial stability & to secure the club’s long-term future.
Do Austrian football fans get excited by the Europa League?
In general, I’d say so.
However, there is also a tendency to be quite fickle when it comes to actually going to the stadium to watch the game (aside from Rapid Vienna who will nearly always sell-out for European games) as fans may snub fixtures against lesser known opposition. This is merely an extension of what happens in the league with fans drawn to the stadium by the ‘bigger’ clubs.
What has been the reaction to the Europa League 2 in Austria?
To be honest, there was not that much reaction to the Europa League 2 (that I noticed at least). 40-50% of the Austrian Bundesliga have generally had the chance to qualify for Europe in recent seasons, so there isn’t generally a thirst for more European football. Even now, due to some of the bigger club’s inconsistencies, smaller teams have been able to qualify for Europe, so I’m not sure the Europa League 2 would change all that much in Austria.
What would you like to see UEFA do to level the playing field more for small European sides?
I don’t think we necessarily want to level the playing field as such, and if I’m honest, I’m not sure a new tournament was the best way to go about trying to get more fringe nations/teams involved in a European tournament. Having said that, maybe it could be a huge success!
If it was up to me, I’d have continued with the current Europa League competition on it’s own, but potentially given smaller leagues more qualification positions and added one or two more qualification rounds. Almost akin to the FA Cup, where Sunday League teams will be playing FA Cup qualifying games months before the FA Cup first round.
Are fans going to be excited by the Europa League 2? I’m not so sure, whereas if your club have battled through 5 rounds of qualifiers and make the Europa League group stage, that’s already quite a big achievement.
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Author: Tom Mortimer
Tom is the editor at Betting Circle and has been creating online content for over 10 years. Tom mainly writes about sport and gambling, but every now and then also delves into fleshier subjects like politics and psychology. When he was 18 he created HungarianFootball.com and over the last few years he's written on a freelance basis for ESPN, WorldSoccer, Goal.com, among many others.